Economic Security Programs Cut Poverty Nearly in Half Over Last 50 Years

Using a version of the federal government’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) — a more comprehensive metric than the official poverty measure — we calculate that the poverty rate has fallen by nearly half since 1967, largely due to the growing effectiveness of economic security programs such as Social Security, food assistance, and tax credits for […]

Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans, Insecurity in the States 2019

New estimates from the 2019 Elder Index suggest that half of older adults living alone, and 23% of older adults living in two-elder households, lack the financial resources required to pay for basic needs. The Gerontology Institute compares the 2019 household incomes for adults age 65 and above living in one- and two-person households to […]

Red and Blue Voters Live in Different Economies

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, scholars, journalists and ordinary citizens battled over whether economic anxiety or racial and cultural animus were crucial to the outcome. Soon a consensus formed, however, among most — though not all — political analysts, in support of the view that attitudes about race, immigration, sexism and authoritarianism […]

Government programs kept tens of millions out of poverty in 2018

From 2017 to 2018, the official poverty rate fell by 0.5 percentage points, as household incomes rose modestly, albeit at a slower pace than the previous three years. This was the fourth year in a row that poverty declined, but the poverty rate remains half a percentage point higher than the low of 11.3% it […]

The US Welfare State Cut Poverty by Two-Thirds in 2018

The Census released its 2018 poverty report last week, which showed no change in the poverty rate from the prior year. What follows is a novel rundown of the state of poverty and welfare in the US based on my own calculations of the report’s underlying data. When you want to determine how much poverty […]