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Poverty Poverty is the state of having little material possessions or income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expresse ...

Poverty
in the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States of America
refers to people who lack sufficient income or material possessions for their needs. Although the US is a relatively wealthy country by international standards, poverty has consistently been present throughout the United States, along with efforts to alleviate it, from
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
-era legislation during the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
to the national
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
in the 1960s to poverty alleviation efforts during the 2008
Great Recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline (recession) observed in national economies globally that occurred between 2007 and 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At the time, the ...
. The U.S. federal government uses two measures to measure poverty: the poverty thresholds set by the
U.S. Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of th ...
, used for statistical purposes, and the poverty guidelines issued by the
Department of Health and Human Services The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also known as the Health Department, is a cabinet-level executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, r ...
, which are used for administrative purposes. Poverty thresholds, which recognize poverty as a lack of those goods and services which are commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society, consist of income levels. On the other hand, poverty guidelines are simpler guidelines that are used to determine eligibility for federal programs such as Head Start and
food stamps In the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly yet still commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance for Poverty in the United States, low- and no- ...

food stamps
. The 2020 assessment by the U.S. Census Bureau showed the percentage of Americans living in poverty for 2019 (before the
pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of individuals. A widespread disease with a stable number o ...

pandemic
) had fallen to some of lowest levels ever recorded due to the record-long economic growth period. However, between May and October 2020, some eight million people were put into poverty due to the economic effects of the pandemic
lockdown A lockdown is a restriction policy for people or community to stay where they are, usually due to specific risks to themselves or to others if they can move and interact freely. The term "stay-at-home" or "shelter-in-place" is often used for lo ...

lockdown
s and the ending of funds from the
CARES Act The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a $2.2trillion economic stimulus In economics, stimulus refers to attempts to use monetary policy or fiscal policy (or stabilization policy in general) to ...
.


Historical background


Progressive era

Catalyzed by
Henry George Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American political economist and journalist. His writing was immensely popular in 19th-century America and sparked several reform movements of the Progressive Era. He inspired the econ ...

Henry George
's 1873 book ''
Progress and Poverty ''Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy'' is an 1879 book by social theorist and economist Henry George. It is a treatise on the questions of why povert ...
,'' public interest in how poverty could arise even in a time of economic progress arose in the 19th century with the rise of the Progressive movement. The Progressive American social survey began with the publication of ''Hull House Maps and Papers'' in 1895. This study included essays and maps collected by
Florence Kelley Florence Moltrop Kelley (September 12, 1859 – February 17, 1932) was a social and political reformer and the pioneer of the term wage abolitionism. Her work against sweatshops and for the minimum wage, eight-hour day, eight-hour workdays, and ...

Florence Kelley
and her colleagues working at
Hull House Hull House was a settlement house The settlement movement was a reformist social movement that began in the 1880s and peaked around the 1920s in England and the United States. Its goal was to bring the rich and the poor of society together ...
and staff of the
United States Bureau of Labor The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government responsible for occupational safety and health Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and ...
. It focused on studying the conditions of the slums in Chicago, including four maps color-coded by nationality and income level, which were based on Charles Booth's earlier pioneering work, ''
Life and Labour of the People in London File:Booth poverty map colour key.jpg, 400px, Colour key for Booth's poverty map. ''Life and Labour of the People in London'' was a multi-volume book by Charles Booth (social reformer), Charles Booth which provided a survey of the lives and occupat ...
.'' Another social reformer,
Jacob Riis Jacob August Riis (; May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914) was a Danish-American Reform movement, social reformer, "muckraker, muckraking" journalist and social documentary photography, social documentary photographer. He contributed significantly to the ...

Jacob Riis
, documented the living conditions of New York tenements and slums in his 1890 work '' How the Other Half Lives''.


Great Depression

A group especially vulnerable to poverty consisted of poor
sharecroppers Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural land in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on that land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range o ...
and tenant farmers in the South. These farmers consisted of around a fourth of the South's population, and over a third of these people were African Americans. Historian James T. Patterson refers to these people as the "old poverty," as opposed to the "new poverty" that emerged after the onset of the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
. During the Depression, the government did not provide any
unemployment insurance Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, unemployment compensation, or simply unemployment, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployed Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Ec ...
, so people who lost jobs easily became impoverished. People who lost their jobs or homes lived in or
Hooverville A Hooverville of squatters' shanties along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon; 1936, Arthur Rothstein. A "Hooverville" was a shanty town A shanty town or squatter area is a settlement of improvised buildings known as shanties or shacks, t ...
s. Many
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
programs were designed to increase employment and reduce poverty. The
Federal Emergency Relief Administration The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) was a program established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, building on the Hoover administration's Emergency Relief and Construction Act. It was replaced in 1935 by the Works Progress Admin ...
specifically focused on creating jobs for alleviating poverty. Jobs were more expensive than direct cash payments (called "the dole"), but were psychologically more beneficial to the unemployed, who wanted any sort of job for morale. Other New Deal initiatives that aimed at job creation and wellbeing included the
Civilian Conservation Corps The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary public work relief program Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is persons above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid em ...

Civilian Conservation Corps
and
Public Works Administration Public Works Administration (''PWA''), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by United States Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was cre ...
. Additionally, the institution of
Social Security Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and ...
was one of the largest factors that helped to reduce poverty.Poverty in 13 states is worse than we thought
Washington Post November 8, 2013


War on Poverty

A number of factors helped start the national
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
in the 1960s. In 1962,
Michael Harrington Edward Michael Harrington Jr. (February 24, 1928 – July 31, 1989) was an American democratic socialist Democratic socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions ...
's book ''
The Other America ''The Other America'' () is Michael Harrington's best known and likely most influential book. He was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, political theorist, professor of political science, radio commentator, and foundin ...
'' helped increase public debate and awareness of the poverty issue. The War on Poverty embraced expanding the federal government's roles in education and health care as poverty reduction strategies, and many of its programs were administered by the newly established
Office of Economic OpportunityThe Office of Economic Opportunity was the agency responsible for administering most of the War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon ...
. The War on Poverty coincided with more methodological and precise statistical versions of studying poverty; the "official" U.S. statistical measure of poverty was only adopted in 1969.


21st century

In the 21st century, the
Great Recession The Great Recession was a period of marked general decline (recession) observed in national economies globally that occurred between 2007 and 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country (see map). At the time, the ...
helped to increase poverty levels again. , the number of people who were in poverty was approaching 1960s levels that led to the national War on Poverty. The 2010 census data shows that half the population qualifies as poor or low income, with one in five
millennials Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ...
living in poverty. Academic contributors to ''The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States'' postulate that new and extreme forms of poverty have emerged in the U.S. as a result of
neoliberal Neoliberalism, or neo-liberalism, is a term used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; ...
structural adjustment policies and
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalization
, which have rendered economically marginalized communities as destitute "surplus populations" in need of control and punishment. Many international bodies have emphasized the issues of poverty that the United States faces. A 2013
UNICEF UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children's Fund, is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly ...

UNICEF
report ranked the U.S. as having the second-highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world. , the
IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monu ...

IMF
warned the United States that its high poverty rate needs to be tackled urgently by raising the minimum wage and offering paid maternity leave to women to encourage them to enter the labor force. In December 2017, the United Nations special rapporteur on
extreme poverty Extreme poverty, deep poverty, abject poverty, absolute poverty, destitution, or penury, is the most severe type of poverty Poverty is the state of having little material possessions or income Income is the consumption and saving oppor ...
and human rights,
Philip Alston Philip G. Alston is an Australian international law scholar and human rights practitioner. He is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law New York University School of Law (NYU Law) is the professional graduat ...
, undertook a two-week investigation on the effects of systemic poverty in the United States, and sharply condemned "private wealth and public squalor," declaring the state of
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat = Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery , LargestCity = Birmin ...

Alabama
to have the "worst poverty in the developed world." Alston's report was issued in May 2018 and highlights that 40 million people live in poverty and over five million live "in '
Third World The term "Third World" arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact. The United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Western European nations and their allies represented the "First Wor ...

Third World
' conditions." According to a 2020 assessment by the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in poverty for 2019 (before the
pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of individuals. A widespread disease with a stable number o ...

pandemic
) had fallen to some of lowest levels ever recorded due to the record-long economic growth period and stood at 11.1% (adjusted for smaller response during the pandemic). However, between May and October 2020, the economic effects of the lockdowns put in place as a result of the pandemic, and the exhaustion of the funding provided by the
CARES Act The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a $2.2trillion economic stimulus In economics, stimulus refers to attempts to use monetary policy or fiscal policy (or stabilization policy in general) to ...
, dragged some eight million people into poverty.


Measuring poverty

There are several measures used by the U.S. federal government to measure poverty. The
Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people A people is a plurality of person A p ...
issues the poverty thresholds, which are generally used for statistical purposes—for example, to estimate the number of people in poverty nationwide each year and classify them by type of residence, race, and other social, economic, and demographic characteristics. The
Department of Health and Human Services The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also known as the Health Department, is a cabinet-level executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, r ...
issues the poverty guidelines for administrative purposes—for instance, to determine whether a person or family is eligible for assistance through various federal programs. Both the poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines are updated yearly. More recently, the Census Bureau has begun using the Supplemental Poverty Measure as an additional statistic to measure poverty and supplement the existing measures.


Poverty income thresholds

The poverty income thresholds originate from work done by
Mollie Orshansky Mollie Orshansky (January 9, 1915 – December 18, 2006) was an American economist An economist is a practitioner in the social sciences, social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and c ...
, an American economist working for the
Social Security Administration The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jurisdic ...
. Orshansky introduced the poverty thresholds in a 1963 ''Social Security Bulletin'' article, "Children of the Poor." Orshansky based her thresholds on work she had done with the economy food plan while at the
USDA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
. According to the USDA's 1955 Household Food Consumption Survey, families of three or more people spent one-third of their after-tax income on food. For these families, poverty thresholds were set at three times the cost of the economy food plan. Different procedures were used for calculating poverty thresholds for two-person households and persons living alone. Her work appeared at an opportune moment, as declared the War on Poverty just six months later—and Orshanky's work offered a numerical way to measure progress in this effort. The newly formed
Office of Economic OpportunityThe Office of Economic Opportunity was the agency responsible for administering most of the War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon ...
(OEO) adopted the Orshansky poverty thresholds for statistical, planning, and budgetary purposes in May 1965. Officials at the OEO were enthusiastic; as research director Joseph Kershaw remarked, "Mollie Orshansky says that when you have more people in the family, you need more money. Isn't that sensible?" Officials at the Social Security Administration began to plan on how to adjust poverty thresholds for changes in the standard of living. The
Bureau of the Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP). OMB's most prominent function is to produce the president's budget, but it also examines agency programs, poli ...
resisted these changes, but formed an interagency committee that, in 1969, decided that poverty thresholds would be adjusted for inflation by being tied to the
Consumer Price Index#REDIRECT consumer price index A consumer price index measures changes in the price level of a weighted average market basket of Goods, consumer goods and Services marketing, services purchased by households. A CPI is a statistical estimate con ...
, rather than changes in the standard of living. In August 1969, the Bureau of the Budget designated these revised thresholds as the federal government's official definition of poverty. Apart from minor changes in 1981 that changed the number of thresholds from 124 to 48, poverty thresholds have remained static for the past fifty years despite criticism that the thresholds may not be completely accurate. Although the poverty thresholds assumes that the average household of three spends one-third of its budget on food, more recent surveys have shown that that number has decreased to one-fifth in the 1980s and one-sixth by the 1990s. If the poverty thresholds were recalculated based on food costs as of 2008, the economy food budget multiplier would have been 7.8 rather than 3, greatly increasing the thresholds.


Poverty income guidelines

The poverty guidelines are a version of the poverty thresholds used by federal agencies for administrative purposes, such as determining eligibility for federal assistance programs. They are useful because poverty thresholds for one calendar year are not published until the summer of the next calendar year; poverty guidelines, on the other hand, allow agencies to work with more timely data. Poverty guidelines were initially issued by the OEO starting in December 1965. After the
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 Omnibus may refer to: Film and television * ''Omnibus'' (film) * Omnibus (broadcast) An omnibus (or omnibus edition) is a compilation of several television or radio episodes into a single instalment. An omnibus is similar to, but distinct from, ...
, responsibility for issuing the guidelines was transferred to the
Department of Health and Human Services The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also known as the Health Department, is a cabinet-level executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, r ...
. Poverty guidelines are also referred to as the "federal poverty level" (FPL), but the HHS discourages that term as ambiguous.


Supplemental Poverty Measure

In 1990, a Congressional committee requested the
National Research CouncilNational Research Council may refer to: * National Research Council (Canada), sponsoring research and development * National Research Council (Italy), scientific and technological research, Rome * National Research Council (United States), part of t ...
(NRC) to conduct a study on revising the poverty measure. The NRC convened a panel, which published a 1995 report ''Measuring Poverty: A New Approach'' that concluded that the official poverty measure in the United States is flawed. The panel noted that the thresholds are the same irrespective of geography and stated that due to "rising living standards in the United States, most approaches for developing poverty thresholds (including the original one) would produce higher thresholds today than the current ones." Additionally, the report suggested an alternative measure of poverty, which uses actual expenditure data to develop a threshold value for a family of four—and then update this threshold every year and according to geographic location. This alternative measure of poverty would also change the income calculation for a family, including certain non-cash benefits that satisfied "basic needs" such as food stamps and public housing while excluding "non-basic needs" such as medical costs and child care. The work of the panel led to the development of Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which was intended to address some of the weaknesses of the existing poverty guidelines. In October 2014, the Census Bureau released a report describing the SPM and stated its intention to publish SPM measures every year. However, SPM is intended to "supplement" the existing poverty thresholds, not "replace" them, as poverty thresholds will remain the "official" Census Bureau measure and poverty guidelines will be derived only from the "official" poverty measures. Unlike the poverty thresholds, and in line with the NRC recommendations, the SPM both includes certain non-cash benefits in a family's income and adjusts thresholds for differences in housing costs by geographic area. Additionally, the SPM thresholds are based on how much a "reference" family with two children spends on food, clothing, shelter, and utilities (FCSU).


Criticism


Understating poverty

Many sociologists and government officials have argued that poverty in the United States is understated, meaning that there are more households living in actual poverty than there are households below the poverty threshold. A recent
NPR National Public Radio (NPR, stylized in all lowercase, npr) is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit media organization based in Washington, D.C. NPR is based in two locations: main NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. (often re ...
report states that as many as 30% of Americans have trouble making ends meet and other advocates have made supporting claims that the rate of actual poverty in the US is far higher than that calculated by using the poverty threshold. A study taken in 2012 estimated that roughly 38% of Americans live "paycheck to paycheck." In 1969, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put forward suggested budgets for adequate family living. 60% of working-class Americans lived below the "intermediate" budget, which allowed for the following:
It assumes, for example, that the family will own: ... A toaster that will last for 33 years. ... A vacuum cleaner that will last 14 years. The budget assumes that a family will buy a two-year-old car and keep it for four years... Finally, the budget allows nothing whatever for savings.
Given that the "intermediate" budget was fairly modest, observers questioned whether poverty levels were really capturing the full extent of prosperity, challenging the long-established view that most Americans had attained an affluent standard of living in the two decades following the end of the Second World War. There have also been criticism of the methodology used to develop the U.S. poverty thresholds in the first place. As noted above, the poverty thresholds used by the US government were originally developed during the Johnson administration's
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
initiative in the early 1960s. The thresholds were based on the cost of a food basket at the time, multiplied by three, under the assumption that the average family spent one third of its income on food. However, the current poverty line only takes into account food purchases that were common more than 50 years ago. Additionally, it assumes that Americans spend one third of their income on food; in fact, Americans typically spent less than one tenth of their after-tax income on food in 2000. For many families, the costs of housing,
health insurance Health insurance or medical insurance (also known as medical aid in South Africa) is a type of insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, ev ...
and
medical care Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World ...
, transportation, and access to basic telecommunications take a much larger bite out of the family's income today than a half century ago, yet none of these costs are considered in determining the official poverty thresholds. According to John Schwarz, a political scientist at the University of Arizona:
The official poverty line today is essentially what it takes in today's dollars, adjusted for inflation, to purchase the same poverty-line level of living that was appropriate to a half century ago, in 1955 .... Updated thereafter only for inflation, the poverty line lost all connection over time with current consumption patterns of the average family. Quite a few families then didn't have their own private telephone, or a car, or even a mixer in their kitchen... The official poverty line has thus been allowed to fall substantially below a socially decent minimum, even though its intention was to measure such a minimum.
The issue of understating poverty is especially pressing in states with both a high cost of living and a high poverty rate such as California where the median home price in 2006 was $564,430. In the Monterey area, where the low-pay industry of agriculture is the largest sector in the economy and the majority of the population lacks a college education, the median home price was $723,790, requiring an upper middle class income only earned by roughly 20% of all households in the county. Such fluctuations in local markets are, however, not considered in the federal poverty threshold and may leave many who live in poverty-like conditions out of the total number of households classified as poor. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, introduced in 2011, aims at providing a more accurate picture of the true extent of poverty in the United States by taking account of non-cash benefits and geographic variations. According to this new measure, 16% of Americans lived in poverty in 2011, compared with the official figure of 15.2%. With the new measure, one study estimated that nearly half of all Americans lived within 200% of the federal poverty line. According to American economist Sandy Darity, Jr., "There is no exact way of measuring poverty. The measures are contingent on how we conceive of and define poverty. Efforts to develop more refined measures have been dominated by researchers who intentionally want to provide estimates that reduce the magnitude of poverty."


Overstating poverty

Some critics assert that the official U.S. poverty definition is inconsistent with how it is defined by its own citizens and the rest of the world, because the U.S. government considers many citizens statistically impoverished despite their ability to sufficiently meet their basic needs. According to a 2011 paper by research fellow Robert Rector from the conservative
Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation (abbreviated to Heritage) is an American conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in ...
, of the 43.6 million Americans deemed by the
U.S. Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of th ...
to be below the poverty level in 2009, the majority had adequate shelter, food, clothing and medical care. Left-leaning sources disputed the report's findings. In addition, the paper stated that those assessed as below the poverty line in 2011 have a much higher quality of living than those who were identified by the census 40 years ago as being in poverty. For example, in 2005, 63.7% of those living in poverty had cable or satellite television. In some cases the report even said that people currently living in poverty were actually better off than ''middle class'' people of the recent past. For example, in 2005, 78.3% of households living in poverty had air conditioning, whereas in 1970, 36.0% of ''all'' households had air conditioning. According to
The Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation (abbreviated to Heritage) is an United States, American Conservatism in the United States, conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., primarily geared towards public policy. The foundation took a leading role in th ...
, the federal poverty line also excludes income other than cash income, especially welfare benefits. Thus, if
food stamps In the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly yet still commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance for Poverty in the United States, low- and no- ...

food stamps
and
public housing Public housing is a form of housing tenure Housing tenure refers to the financial arrangements under which someone has the right to live in a house or apartment An apartment (American English American English (AmE, AE, ...
were successfully raising the standard of living for poverty stricken individuals, then the poverty line figures would not shift, since they do not consider the income equivalents of such entitlements.Poor Poverty Yardsticks
by Rea Hederman,
Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation (abbreviated to Heritage) is an American conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in ...
, ''Washington Post.'' September 7, 2006. Accessed: February 18, 2007
Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science Popular science (also called pop-science or popsci) is an interpretation of science intended for a general audience. ...

Steven Pinker
, writing in an
op-ed An op-ed, short for "opposite the editorial page" or as a backronym A backronym, or bacronym, is an acronym An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase, usually using individual initial letters, ...
for ''
The Wall Street Journal ''The Wall Street Journal'', also known as ''The Journal'', is an American business-focused, English-language international daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simpl ...

The Wall Street Journal
'', claims that the poverty rate, as measured by consumption, has fallen from 11% in 1988 to 3% in 2018. Burkhauser et al. find that accounting for cash income, taxes, and major in-kind transfers and updating poverty thresholds for inflation show that a Full-income Poverty Rate based on President Johnson's standards fell from 19.5 percent to 2.3 percent over the 1963–2017 period.


Geography


Poverty in U.S. territories

The highest poverty rates in the United States are in the
U.S. territories The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...
(
American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...

American Samoa
,
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
, the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
,
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
and the
U.S. Virgin Islands The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States,Also called the ''American Virgin Islands'' are a group of Caribbean islands and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States The U ...

U.S. Virgin Islands
).http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10240r.pdf ''Poverty Determination In U.S. Insular Areas.'' Retrieved August 30, 2019.
American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...

American Samoa
has the lowest per capita income in the United States — it has a per capita income comparable to that of
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label=Setswana; Kalanga language, Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 ...

Botswana
. In 2010, American Samoa had a per capita income of $6,311. The county or county-equivalent with the lowest per capita income in the United States is the Manu'a District in
American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...

American Samoa
(per capita income of $5,441). In 2018,
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
had the lowest median household income of any state / territory in the United States ($20,166).https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/PR/ U.S. Census Bureau. QuickFacts - Puerto Rico. Retrieved July 4, 2020. Also in 2018, Comerío, Puerto Rico had a median household income of $12,812 — the in the United States. In the 2010 U.S. Census,
Guam Guam (; ch, Guåhan ) is an in the subregion of the western . It is the and territory of the United States (reckoned from the ); in , it is the largest and southernmost of the and the largest island in Micronesia. Guam's capital is , and t ...

Guam
had a poverty rate of 22.9%, the
Northern Mariana Islands The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI; ch, Sankattan Siha Na Islas Mariånas; cal, Commonwealth Téél Falúw kka Efáng llól Marianas), is an unincorporated territories of the Unit ...

Northern Mariana Islands
had a poverty rate of 52.3%, and the
U.S. Virgin Islands The United States Virgin Islands, officially the Virgin Islands of the United States,Also called the ''American Virgin Islands'' are a group of Caribbean islands and an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States The U ...

U.S. Virgin Islands
had a poverty rate of 22.4% (all higher than any U.S. state). In 2018,
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
had a poverty rate of 43.1%. In 2017,
American Samoa American Samoa ( sm, Amerika Sāmoa, ; also ' or ') is an unincorporated territory of the United States Under United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a countr ...

American Samoa
had a poverty rate of 65% — the highest poverty rate of any state or territory in the United States.


Poverty in U.S. states

As of 2018, the state with the lowest poverty rate was
New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the nor ...

New Hampshire
(7.6% poverty rate). Other states with low poverty rates in 2018 include
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
(8.8% poverty rate),
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Maryland
(9.0% poverty rate), and
Minnesota Minnesota () is a U.S. state, state in the Upper Midwest, upper Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 12th largest U.S. state in area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 22nd m ...

Minnesota
(9.6% poverty rate). Among U.S. states,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
had the highest poverty rate in 2018 (19.7% poverty rate).


Poverty and demographics


Poverty and family status

Among married couple families: 5.8% lived in poverty.U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Survey. ''Persons in Families by Family Structure, Age, and Sex, Iterated by Income-to-Poverty Ratio and Race: 2007
Below 100% of Poverty – All Races
.''
This number varied by race and ethnicity as follows:
5.4% of all white persons (which includes white
Hispanics The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano or ) refers to people, cultures, or countries related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazon ...
),U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Survey. ''People in Families by Family Structure, Age, and Sex, Iterated by Income-to-Poverty Ratio and Race: 2007
Below 100% of Poverty – White Alone
.''

10.7% of all
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by t ...
persons (which includes black Hispanics), and
14.9% of all Hispanic persons (of any race) living in poverty. Among single parent (male or female) families: 26.6% lived in poverty. This number varied by race and ethnicity as follows:
22.5% of all white persons (which includes white Hispanics),
44.0% of all black persons (which includes black Hispanics), and
33.4% of all Hispanic persons (of any race) living in poverty. Among individuals living alone: 19.1% lived in poverty. This number varied by race and ethnicity as follows:
18% of white persons (which includes white Hispanics),
28.9% of black persons (which includes black Hispanics) and
27% of Hispanic persons (of any race) are living in poverty.


Poverty and race/ethnicity

The US Census declared that in 2014 14.8% of the general population lived in poverty:Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014
. U.S. Census Bureau

10.1% of all white non-Hispanic persons
12.0% of all Asian persons
23.6% of all Hispanic persons (of any race)
26.2% of all African American persons
28.3% of Native Americans / Alaska Natives As of 2010 about half of those living in poverty are non-Hispanic white (19.6 million). Non-Hispanic white children comprised 57% of all poor rural children. In FY 2009, African American families comprised 33.3% of
TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF ) is a federal assistance program of the United States. It began on July 1, 1997, and succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, providing cash assistance to indigent Amer ...
families, non-Hispanic white families comprised 31.2%, and 28.8% were Hispanic.


Poverty among Native Americans

Poverty is also notoriously high on Native American reservations (see
Reservation poverty Reservations in the United States, known as Indian reservations, are sovereign Native Americans in the United States, Native American territories that are managed by a tribal government in cooperation with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, a br ...
). 7 of the 11 poorest counties in per capita income (in the 50 states), including the 2 poorest in the 50 states, encompass Lakota Sioux reservations in South Dakota. This fact has been cited by some critics as a mechanism that enables the "kidnapping" of Lakota children by the state of South Dakota's Department of Social Services. The Lakota People's Law Project, among other critics, allege that South Dakota "inappropriately equates economic poverty with neglect ... South Dakota's rate of identifying "neglect" is 18% higher than the national average ... In 2010, the national average of state discernment of neglect, as a percent of total maltreatment of foster children prior to their being taken into custody by the state, was 78.3%. In South Dakota the rate was 95.8%." Poverty in the
Pine Ridge Reservation The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation ( lkt, Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke), also called Pine Ridge Agency, is an Oglala Lakota The Oglala (pronounced , meaning "to scatter one's own" in Lakota language Lakota (), also referred to as Lakhota, Teton o ...
in particular has had unprecedented effects on its residents' longevity. "Recent reports state the average life expectancy is 45 years old while others state that it is 48 years old for men and 52 years old for women. With either set of figures, that's the shortest life expectancy for any community in the Western Hemisphere outside Haiti, according to The Wall Street Journal." In the 2013—2017
American Community Survey The American Community Survey (ACS) is a demographics survey program conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census, such as ancestry, citizenship, educati ...
,
Wounded Knee, South Dakota Wounded Knee ( lkt, Čaŋkpé Opí) is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs ha ...
(located in the
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation ( lkt, Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke), also called Pine Ridge Agency, is an Oglala Lakota The Oglala (pronounced , meaning "to scatter one's own" in Lakota language) are one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota peopl ...
) had the 7th-lowest median household income out of all places in the 50 states/D.C./Puerto Rico.https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_17_5YR_S1901&prodType=table U.S. Census Bureau. American FactFinder. Income in the past 12 months (in 2017 inflation-adjusted dollars). 2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Geography" set to "All Places within United States and Puerto Rico".Retrieved August 30, 2019.


Poverty and age

As of 2010, the US Census declared that 15.1% of the general population of the United States lived in poverty: * 22% of all people under the age of 18 * 13.7% of those between the ages of 19-21 * 9% of all people either 65 or older The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) uses a different measure for poverty and declared in 2008 that child poverty in the US is 20% and poverty among the elderly is 23%.


Child poverty

In May 2009, the non-profit advocacy group Feeding America released a study based on 2005–2007 data from the
U.S. Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy. The Census Bureau is part of th ...
and the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Department, which claims that 3.5 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of hunger in the United States. The study claims that in 11 states, Louisiana, which has the highest rate, followed by North Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho and Arkansas, more than 20 percent of children under 5 are allegedly at risk of going hungry. (receiving fewer than 1,800 calories per day). In 2012, 16.1 million American children were living in poverty. Outside of the 49 million Americans living in food insecure homes, 15.9 million of them were children. In 2013, child poverty reached record high levels in the U.S., with 16.7 million Hunger in the United States#Children, children living in food insecure households. Many of the neighborhoods these children live in lack basic produce and nutritious food. 47 million Americans depend on food banks, more than 30% above 2007 levels. Households headed by single mothers are most likely to be affected. 30 percent of low-income single mothers cannot afford diapers. Inability to afford this necessity can cause a chain reaction, including mental, health, and behavioral problems. Some women are forced to make use of one or two diapers, using them more than once. This causes rashes and sanitation problems as well as health problems. Without diapers, children are unable to enter into daycare. The lack of childcare can be detrimental to single mothers, hindering their ability to obtain employment. Worst affected are Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, and the District of Columbia, while North Dakota, New Hampshire, Virginia, Minnesota and Massachusetts are the least affected. 31 million low-income children received free or reduced-price meals daily through the National School lunch program during the 2012 federal fiscal year. Nearly 14 million children are estimated to be served by Feeding America with over 3 million being of the ages of 5 and under. A 2014 report by the National Center on Family Homelessness states the number of Homeless children in the United States, homeless children in the U.S. has reached record levels, calculating that 2.5 million children, or one child in every 30, experienced homelessness in 2013. High levels of poverty, lack of affordable housing and domestic violence were cited as the primary causes. A 2017 peer-reviewed study published in ''Health Affairs'' found that the U.S. has the highest levels of child mortality among 20 OECD countries. Poverty is also associated with expanded adverse childhood experiences, such as witnessing violence, feeling discrimination, and experiencing bullying. According to a 2016 study by the Urban Institute, teenagers in low income communities are often forced to join gangs, save school lunches, sell drugs or exchange sexual favors because they cannot afford food.


Effects of poverty


Education

Poverty#Education, Poverty affects individual access to quality education. The Education in the United States, U.S. education system is often funded by local communities; therefore the quality of materials and teachers can reflect the affluence of community. That said, many communities address this by supplementing these areas with funds from other districts. Low income communities are often not able to afford the quality education that high income communities do which results in a cycle of poverty. In the United States more than 40.6 million people live in poverty,Census.gov, (September, 2017) Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/demo/P60-259.pdf caused mainly by wage inequality, inflation and poor education.Western, B. & Pettit, B., (2010). Incarceration and social inequality. Daedalus, 139(3), 8-19 The vast majority living in poverty is uneducated people that end up increasing more unemployment and crime.


Factors in poverty

There are numerous factors related to poverty in the United States. *Income has a high correlation with educational levels. In 2007, the median earnings of household headed by individuals with less than a 9th grade education was $20,805 while households headed by high school graduates earned $40,456, households headed by holders of bachelor's degrees earned $77,605, and families headed by individuals with professional degrees earned $100,000. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen stated in 2014: "Public funding of education is another way that governments can help offset the advantages some households have in resources available for children. One of the most consequential examples is early childhood education. Research shows that children from lower-income households who get good-quality pre-Kindergarten education are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college as well as hold a job and have higher earnings, and they are less likely to be incarcerated or receive public assistance." *In many cases poverty is caused by job loss. In 2007, the poverty rate was 21.5% for individuals who were unemployed, but only 2.5% for individuals who were employed full-time. *Children growing up in Single parents in the United States, female-headed families with no spouse present have a poverty rate over four times that of children in married-couple families. *Income levels vary with age. For example, the median 2009 income for households headed by individuals age 15–24 was only $30,750, but increased to $50,188 for household headed by individuals age 25–34 and $61,083 for household headed by individuals 35–44. Work experience and additional education may be factors. *Racial wage gap in the United States, Income levels vary along racial/ethnic lines: 21% of all children in the United States live in poverty, about 46% of black children and 40% of Latino children. The poverty rate is 9.9% for black married couples, and only 30% of black children are born to married couples (see Marriage below). The poverty rate for native born and naturalized whites is identical (9.6%). On the other hand, the poverty rate for naturalized blacks is 11.8% compared to 25.1% for native born blacks, suggesting race alone does not explain income disparity. Not all minorities have low incomes. Asian families have higher incomes than all other ethnic groups. For example, the 2005 median income of Asian families was $68,957 compared to the median income of white families of $59,124. Asians, however, report discrimination occurrences more frequently than blacks. Specifically, 31% of Asians reported employment discrimination compared to 26% of blacks in 2005. *Policies that address Income inequality in the United States, income and wealth inequality (i.e., policies that transfer money from higher-income and more wealthy families to less wealthy families) bear significantly on poverty. Economist Jared Bernstein and Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute suggest that poverty could have decreased significantly if inequality had not Great Divergence (inequality), increased over the last few decades. Economist Larry Summers estimated that at 1979 levels of income inequality, the bottom 80% of families would have an average of $11,000 more per year in income in 2014. *The relationship between tax rates and poverty is disputed. A study comparing high tax Scandinavian countries with the U. S. suggests high tax rates are inversely correlated with poverty rates. The poverty rate, however, is low in some low tax countries like Switzerland. A comparison of poverty rates between states reveals that some low tax states have low poverty rates. For example, New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate of any state in the U. S., and has very low taxes (46th among all states). It is true however that both Switzerland and New Hampshire have a very high household income and other measures offsetting the lack of taxation. For example, Switzerland has Universal Healthcare and a free system of education for children as young as four years old. New Hampshire has no state income tax or sales tax, but does have the nation's highest property taxes. *The poor in the United States are Incarceration in the United States, incarcerated at a much higher rate than their counterparts in other developed nations, with penal confinement being, according to sociologist Bruce Western, "commonplace for poor men of working age." A 2015 study by the Vera Institute of Justice contends that jails in the U.S. have become "massive warehouses" of the impoverished since the 1980s. Scholars assert that the transformation of the already anemic U.S. welfare state to a post-welfare punitive state, along with neoliberal structural adjustment policies, the globalization of the U.S. economy and the dominance of global financial institutions, have created more extreme forms of "destitute poverty" in the U.S. which must be contained by expanding the criminal justice system and the carceral state into every aspect of the lives of the poor, which, according to Reuben Jonathan Miller and Emily Shayman, has resulted in "transforming what it means to be poor in America." *According to the American Enterprise Institute, research has shown that Intelligence quotient#Income, income and intelligence are related. In a 1998 study, Charles Murray compared the earnings of 733 full sibling pairs with differing intelligence quotients (IQs). He referred to the sample as utopian in that the sampled pairs were raised in families with virtually no illegitimacy, divorce or poverty. The average earnings of sampled individuals with an IQ of under 75 was $11,000, compared to $16,000 for those with an IQ between 75 and 90, $23,000 for those with an IQ between 90 and 110, $27,000 for those with an IQ between 110 and 125, and $38,000 for those with an IQ above 125. Murray's work on IQ has been criticized by Stephen Jay Gould, Loïc Wacquant and others, including the Southern Poverty Law Center. *According to a 2017 academic study by MIT economist Peter Temin, Americans trapped in poverty live in conditions rivaling the Developing country, developing world, and are forced to contend with substandard education, dilapidated housing, and few stable employment opportunities. A 2017 study published in ''The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene ''found that hookworm, a parasite that thrives on extreme poverty, is flourishing in the Deep South. A report on the study in ''The Guardian'' stated: ** *Some 12 million Americans live with Neglected tropical diseases, diseases associated with extreme poverty.


Fighting poverty

There have been governmental and Non-governmental organization, nongovernmental efforts to reduce poverty and its effects. These range in scope from neighborhood efforts to campaigns with a national focus. They target specific groups affected by poverty such as children, people who are autistic, immigrants, or people who are homeless. Efforts to alleviate poverty use a disparate set of methods, such as advocacy, education, social work, legislation, direct service or charity, and community organizing. Recent debates have centered on the need for policies that focus on both "income poverty" and "asset poverty." Advocates for the approach argue that traditional governmental poverty policies focus solely on supplementing the income of the poor through programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly Aid to Families with Dependent Children, AFDC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program). According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED]
2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard
27 percent of households – nearly double the percentage that are income poor – are living in "asset poverty." These families do not have the savings or other assets to cover basic expenses (equivalent to what could be purchased with a poverty level income) for three months if a layoff or other emergency leads to loss of income. Since 2009, the number of asset poor families has increased by 21 percent from about one in five families to one in four families. In order to provide assistance to such asset poor families, Congress appropriated $24 million to administer the Assets for Independence Program under the supervision of the US Department for Health and Human Services. The program enables community-based nonprofits and government agencies to implement Individual Development Account or Individual Development Account, IDA programs, which are an asset-based development initiative. Every dollar accumulated in Individual Development Account, IDA savings is matched by federal and non-federal funds to enable households to add to their assets portfolio by buying their first home, acquiring a post-secondary education, or starting or expanding a small business. Additionally, th
Earned Income Tax Credit
(EITC or EIC) is a credit for people who earn low-to-moderate incomes. This credit allows them to get money from the government if their total tax outlay is less than the total credit earned, meaning it is not just a reduction in total tax paid but can also bring new income to the household. The Earned Income Tax Credit is viewed as the largest poverty reduction program in the United States. There is an ongoing debate in the U.S. about what the most effective way to fight poverty is, through the tax code with the EITC, or through the Minimum wage in the United States, minimum wage laws. Government safety-net programs put in place since the
War on Poverty The war on poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by President of the United States, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by John ...
have helped reduce the poverty rate from 26% in 1967 to 16% in 2012, according to a Supplemental Poverty Model (SPM) created by Columbia University, while the official U.S. Poverty Rate has not changed, as the economy by itself has done little to reduce poverty. According to the 2013 Columbia University study which created the (SPM) method of measuring poverty, without such programs the poverty rate would be 29% today. An analysis of the study by Kevin Drum suggests the American welfare state effectively reduces poverty among the elderly but provides relatively little assistance to the working-age poor. A 2014 study by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that without social programs like
food stamps In the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly yet still commonly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance for Poverty in the United States, low- and no- ...

food stamps
, Social Security (United States), social security and the federal EITC, the poverty rate in the U.S. would be much higher. Nevertheless, the U.S. has the weakest social safety net of all developed nations. Sociologist Monica Prasad of Northwestern University argues that this developed because of government intervention rather than lack of it, which pushed consumer credit for meeting citizens' needs rather than applying social welfare policies as in Europe.Monica Prasad,
The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty
'' (Harvard University Press, 2012),


See also

* Causes of poverty in the United States * Eviction in the United States * Household income in the United States, Income in the United States * Income inequality in the United States * Income deficit * List of U.S. states and territories by poverty rate * List of lowest-income places in the United States * Lowest-income counties in the United States * Homelessness in the United States * Hunger in the United States * Poor person * Social programs in the United States * Pathways out of Poverty (POP) * Poverty and health in the United States


Other

* Human Poverty Index * Mississippi Teacher Corps * Basic Income * Negative Income Tax * Tipping Point Community * Redistributive change * De-industrialization crisis * ''
The Other America ''The Other America'' () is Michael Harrington's best known and likely most influential book. He was an American democratic socialist, writer, political activist, political theorist, professor of political science, radio commentator, and foundin ...
'' * ''Two Americas'' * Kids Against Hunger * ''Can you hear their voices?'' (1931 play) * Feminization of poverty * Unintended pregnancy * Social determinants of health in poverty


International

* Poverty by country * International Ranking of Household Income * List of Average Wages per Country


Notes


References


Bibliography and further reading

* *Philip Alston, Alston, Philip. (2018
Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR. * Baradaran, Mehrsa (2015). ''How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy.'' Harvard University Press. * * Jason DeParle, DeParle, Jason, "How to Fix Child Poverty" (review of Jeff Madrick, ''Invisible Americans: The Tragic Cost of Child Poverty'', Knopf, 2020, , 231 pp.; and ''A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty: a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, edited by Greg Duncan and Suzanne Le Menestrel, National Academies Press, 596 pp., free PDF available at nap.edu/25246), ''The New York Review of Books'', vol. LXVII, no. 12 (23 July 2020), pp. 33–35. * Desmond, Matthew (2016). ''Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.'' Crown Publishing Group. * Kathryn Edin, Edin, Kathryn and Lein, Laura (1997). ''Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work.'' Russell Sage Foundation. *Kathryn Edin, Edin, Kathryn and H. Luke Shaefer (2016). ''$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America.'' Mariner Books. * Barbara Ehrenreich, Ehrenreich, Barbara (2001). ''Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America''. Metropolitan Books. * * * Haymes, Stephen, Maria Vidal de Haymes and Reuben Miller (eds).
The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States
'' Routledge, 2015. . * Chris Hedges, Hedges, Chris and Joe Sacco, Sacco, Joe (2012). ''Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.'' Nation Books. * Howe, Louise Kapp, ed. (1970). ''The White Majority: between Poverty and Affluence'', in series, ''Vintage Book[s].'' New York: New York: Random House. xii, 303 p. SBN 394-71666-3 * Katz, Michael B (2013). ''The Undeserving Poor: America's Enduring Confrontation with Poverty: Fully Updated and Revised.'' Oxford University Press; 2 edition. * Lyon-Callo, Vincent (2004). ''Inequality, Poverty, and Neoliberal Governance: Activist Ethnography in the Homeless Sheltering Industry.'' University of Toronto Press. * Prasad, Monica (2012). ''The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty.'' Harvard University Press. * * Sciandra, M., Sanbonmatsu, L., Duncan, G. J., Gennetian, L. A., Katz, L. F., Kessler, R. C., et al. (2013). Long-term effects of the Moving to Opportunity residential mobility experiment on crime and delinquency. Journal of Exp Criminol 9, 451–489. * Shipler, David K (2004). ''The Working Poor :Invisible in America, '' Knopf. * Loïc Wacquant, Wacquant, Loïc (2009). ''Prisons of Poverty.'' University of Minnesota Press. * ——— (2009). ''Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity''. Duke University Press. ; Videos: * // Accompanied article: *


External links

*U.S. Census Burea
Poverty Definition
*U.S. Census Burea
Child Poverty and Tax: a simple graph of child disposable income disparity in OECD countries against tax burdens.
The Center for American Progress, April 2007.

by economist Ellen Frank in Dollars & Sense magazine, January/February 2006
"Deciding Who's Poor"
by economist Barbara Bergmann in Dollars & Sense magazine, March/April 2000
37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty
*David Walls (academic), David Walls
Models of Poverty and Planned ChangeU.S. Government Does Relatively Little to Lessen Child Poverty RatesU.S. Department of Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement

Cities Tolerate Homeless Camps
by Jennifer Levitz, ''
The Wall Street Journal ''The Wall Street Journal'', also known as ''The Journal'', is an American business-focused, English-language international daily newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simpl ...

The Wall Street Journal
'', August 11, 2009
The Forgotten Americans
PBS series by Hector Galan about colonias.
Americans living in Third World conditions
This article discusses the living conditions of people inhabiting colonias (with pictures). * Steve Suitts
"The Worst of Times: Children in Extreme Poverty in the South and Nation,"
''Southern Spaces'', June 29, 2010.

''Huffington Post'', July 28, 2013
The American Way of Poverty: As Inequality Hits Record High, Sasha Abramsky on the Forgotten Poor
''DemocracyNow!'' September 12, 2013.
America's Shameful Poverty Stats
Sasha Abramsky. ''The Nation,'' September 18, 2013.
How Much Money to End Poverty in America?
''Truthdig.'' September 26, 2013.
Poverty in the United States: 2012
Congressional Research Service
It Is Expensive to Be Poor
''The Atlantic.'' January 13, 2014.
Here's The Painful Truth About What It Means To Be 'Working Poor' In America
''The Huffington Post,'' May 19, 2014.
10 Poverty Myths, Busted
''Mother Jones (magazine), Mother Jones,'' March/April 2014 issue.
FPL Calculator
A mobile app for calculating federal poverty level.
The Poor Get Prison
Institute for Policy Studies, 2015.
Measuring the impact of poverty in education, EducationDive, August 8, 2016
''New York (magazine), New York''. January 5, 2018. {{Social class Poverty in the United States,