New Census Data Shows More Americans Emerging From Poverty

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 03:51:16 AM. But it also lays bare the geographic and economic divisions growing in America.
Eight years after the end of the Great Recession, more of America’s poorest families are beginning to emerge from poverty, suggesting that the effects of a booming job market and an expanded safety net may finally be helping the country’s most vulnerable residents. Census data released today show that the number of people living in poverty has finally returned to pre-recession levels, with poverty declining for all ethnic groups. This doesn’t mean poverty is anywhere near disappearing in America: There were still 40.6 million people in poverty last year, and the poverty rate was 12.7 percent, down from 13.5 percent in 2015. And in some cases, people are still doing worse than before the recession; the average income of people in the lowest 20 percent of households remains down from what it was a decade ago. But, despite this, the Census data points to improvements in the poverty rate for the people who had been struggling the most: African Americans, single mothers, and those without a high school diploma. “It looks like the labor market growth is finally reaching down to some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Scott Allard, a professor at the University of Washington and the author of the book Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty. The decline wasn’t just the result of an improving economy. Safety-net programs including Social Security, refundable tax credits, food stamps, and housing subsidies also helped to reduce the number of people in poverty, the...Read more
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