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Safety Net Fraying for the Very Poorest

May 24, 2011

I recently described a new study finding that public programs keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty. The same study illustrates that after policymakers weakened certain elements of the safety net, deep poverty — that is, the share of the population with incomes below half the poverty line — rose sharply.

Public Programs Keep Millions Out of Poverty, New Study Shows

May 18, 2011

With anti-poverty programs under serious attack in Washington, here’s something to keep in mind: a major new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty — primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor — and that the poverty rate would double without these programs.

Poverty in Early Childhood Has Long and Harmful Reach

March 15, 2011

Even as federal and state policymakers consider cutting back programs that boost the incomes of working-poor families, two researchers report evidence that poverty among young children not only slows them in school but also shrinks their earnings as adults.

Recovery Act Kept 4.5 Million People Out of Poverty in 2009, Helping Keep Poverty Flat

January 6, 2011

Our analysis of data that the Census Bureau released this week shows that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was one of the single most effective pieces of antipoverty legislation in decades. In 2009, the Recovery Act’s temporary expansion of the safety net kept 4.5 million people out of poverty.

Working-Family Tax Relief in Tax-Cut Deal Would Keep 2 Million People Above Poverty Line

December 10, 2010

Three major tax benefits for middle- and lower-income working Americans in the tax-cut deal between President Obama and Republican leaders (that go beyond extending the Bush tax cuts) would keep more than 2 million Americans above the poverty line and reduce the severity of poverty for 19 million more, Center analysis finds.

Deep Poverty Increases in 28 States, Reaches Record High Nationwide

September 28, 2010

Following up on its September 16 release of national data on poverty in 2009 (which we analyzed here), the Census Bureau today released poverty data for the state and local levels showing that poverty rose in 31 states and fell in none. We analyzed the new data and found that the percentage of people in deep poverty — that is, with incomes below half the poverty line — rose by a statistically significant amount in 28 states in 2009. (See table.) It dipped in one state, Wyoming. Between 2000 and 2009, the share of the population living in deep poverty increased in 36 states.

Double Whammy: Recession Followed a Uniquely Painful Recovery

September 23, 2010

As a Center report explained last week, the new Census data for 2009 reflect the harsh impact of the recession, as poverty and the ranks of the uninsured grew considerably while median incomes among working-age households fell.

Poverty Increase Would Have Been Nearly Three Times Greater Without Jobless Benefits and Food Stamps Than With Them

September 21, 2010

Last week, we highlighted our analysis of the Census Bureau’s new poverty data, in which we found that unemployment benefits kept many Americans out of poverty and economic hardship in 2009. Food stamps helped, too. In fact, the increase in the number of Americans with income below the poverty line is nearly three times as great if you don’t count unemployment benefits and food stamps as if you do.

Where Will Poverty Go From Here?

September 17, 2010

As our analysis of the new poverty data for 2009 points out, poverty may be even higher in 2010 and 2011 than in 2009.

Looking at Today’s Poverty Numbers

September 16, 2010

The headline story in today’s Census Bureau report is the large jump in the poverty rate in 2009. But an exclusive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of the new survey data shows that unemployment insurance benefits — which expanded substantially last year in response to the increased need — kept 3.3 million people out of poverty in 2009.