September 19, 2014
New Census Data Confirm Millions Are Still Being Left Behind:
Wrongheaded Policy Choices Will Leave E...
children and nearly one out of three Hispanic children are poor.8
Numerous previous studies have shown that
children who...
million people, including 5.3 million children, out of poverty in 2012.21
Children from families that benefit from
the E...
Some Proposals that Purport to Fight Poverty Will Actually Increase It
In addition to providing tax cuts to millionaires...
New Census Data Confirms Too Many Are Still Being Left Behind
Numbers in 1000’s
This report was prepared by Lecia Imbery, Senior Policy Writer for the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN). CHN is an allianc...
of 7

National Final Poverty Day Report 2013 Data

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - National Final Poverty Day Report 2013 Data

  • 1. 1 September 19, 2014 New Census Data Confirm Millions Are Still Being Left Behind: Wrongheaded Policy Choices Will Leave Even More on the Brink Too many of our neighbors are still being left behind even as our economy continues to recover, four years after the end of the Great Recession. Data released this week by the Census Bureau show that some progress has been made – the child poverty rate, for example, declined from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013, most likely due to a rise in employment and income among parents. The official overall poverty data were mixed, as the percentage of people in poverty fell from 15.0 in 2012 to 14.5 in 2013, but the number of people in poverty remains over 45 million.1 A greater proportion of Americans were poor in 2013 than in 2009, the year the Great Recession officially ended. All in all, the data are clear that poverty remains stubbornly and unacceptably high, and too many Americans are struggling to find a job, pay their rent, and feed their families. We are clearly not doing enough as a country to make progress on reducing poverty. Our safety net programs are effective in keeping millions of people out of poverty and in keeping many from becoming more deeply poor. But they do not reach everyone in poverty, and recent cuts to these programs have left them less able to help the number of people who need it. Further automatic funding cuts or wrongheaded budget proposals, as well as plans that claim to fight poverty by turning social service programs into block grants, would actually increase poverty and only make the situation worse. We need more investments in the programs that keep our neighbors from falling even deeper into poverty, not less. Years after the Recession Ended, Millions are Still Struggling While the recession officially ended in June of 2009, millions of Americans have yet to see any relief. In 2009, 14.3 percent of the country was poor. In 2013, 14.5 percent – or more than one in seven - lived in poverty.2 For a family of four, that means living on an income under $23,834. The share of households with income under $25,000 has grown, while the share of households making $50,000 or more has fallen.3 There are also 6 million more people living in near-poverty than in 2009; one-third of the nation lives below twice the federal poverty level, or less than $47,668 for a family of four.4 Those who work are not immune to poverty, either; 12.9 percent of families headed by part-time or part-year workers are poor,5 and 29.4 of similar families are near poor.6 We’ve long known how important education is in fighting poverty, and the Census Bureau data reinforce that – one out of four people with education below a high school degree is poor, while one out of seven with a high school degree and one out of 20 with a college degree are poor.7 Children remain the age group most disproportionately poor – roughly one out of five children in the U.S. is poor – and the statistics are far worse for children of color. Nationally, more than one out of three African American
  • 2. 2 children and nearly one out of three Hispanic children are poor.8 Numerous previous studies have shown that children who grow up poor are more likely to suffer from poor health, developmental delays, behavioral problems, and lower academic achievement. They are also more likely to be unemployed as adults.9 In a country where half of our children are children of color and where they are a growing percentage of the population, these are very worrying statistics. While poverty has grown since the recession, so too has inequality. Between 2009 and 2013, inequality as measured by the Gini index rose by 1.7 percent.10 The income of the top 1 percent of U.S. earners grew by 31.4 percent, while incomes for the other 99 percent grew only by 0.4 percent.11 The wealthiest are getting richer and enjoying more tax breaks and loopholes, while those at the bottom are struggling to stay afloat – and in many cases, to stay in their homes. Nationally, 42.5 percent of renters pay more than 35 percent of their income in rent, well over the official definition of families overburdened by rent costs (30 percent). In addition to the Census Bureau data, other data also depict a nation in which too many are left behind, even years after the recession officially ended. In 2009, the year the recession ended for the statisticians, the national annual unemployment rate was 9.3 percent.12 The official unemployment rate declined to 7.4 percent in 2013, and dropped further to 6.1 percent nationally in August of 2014. The decrease is important, as parents finding work have contributed to a falling child poverty rate. But there are still 9.6 million people who are unable to find a job. Nearly 7.3 million workers are working part-time because they can’t find a full-time job or because their hours have been cut back,13 and still millions more have given up looking for a job altogether because they believe none exists for them. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month, one in seven households had trouble providing adequate food for everyone in 2013. The number of people struggling against hunger remains dramatically higher than it was before the Great Recession. In 2007, before the recession, 36.2 million people were in a food insecure household (12.2 percent). In 2013, 49 million faced hunger (15.8 percent).14 Another recent study notes that one in seven Americans rely on food pantries and meal programs to feed themselves and their families.15 Again, the statistics were worse for African American and Hispanic households and for households with children.16 One bright spot in our nation’s picture is health insurance. A new report from the Urban Institute shows that the number of uninsured adults fell by 22.3 percent from September 2013 to June 2014, with most of this drop coming from low- and middle- income adults. In states that implemented the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, the uninsured rate dropped 37.7 percent. The uninsured rate for low-income adults remains high, at 31.7 percent, but it’s much higher in non-expansion states (40.0 percent) than in expansion states (23.1 percent).17 Nationally, 42 million people remained uninsured in 2013.18 What We Can – and Must – Do to Reduce Poverty Clearly, more must be done to lift up the millions of Americans who have been left out of the recovery. Strong federal programs create jobs, grow the economy, reduce inequity, and keep millions out of poverty. In 2013, 3.7 million people were kept out of poverty when benefits they receive from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were counted as part of their income. Similarly, unemployment insurance kept 1.2 million people out of poverty last year,19 and unemployment insurance expansions during the Great Recession prevented roughly 1.4 million foreclosures.20 The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit lifted 10.1
  • 3. 3 million people, including 5.3 million children, out of poverty in 2012.21 Children from families that benefit from the EITC also do better in school and end up working and earning more as adults. 22 Other federal legislation can also break down the barriers that leave millions of Americans in dire conditions. Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would lift nearly 6 million people above the poverty threshold and help the families of nearly 14 million children,23 all while saving $4.6 billion in SNAP expenditures24 and adding $33 billion in new economic activity. 25 Raising the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is just as important; poverty rates for tipped workers are roughly twice as high as rates for workers overall. However, the average poverty rate for female tipped workers in the eight states where employers must pay their tipped employees the regular minimum wage is 33 percent lower than in states with the $2.13 per hour tipped federal minimum cash wage.26 Without these programs, the number of those in poverty would be much higher. We know these programs work for those who are able to access them, but limited funding means that too many aren’t able to get the help they need to move up. Stopping cuts to these proven programs should be the first step. Nearly 100 human needs programs that require annual appropriations saw their funding cut by more than 10 percent since 2010, adjusted for inflation. Some important low-income programs have been cut very deeply: heating and cooling assistance for low-income households was cut 38 percent over this period; juvenile justice programs were slashed by one-third or more; child welfare services were cut by more than one-third; the public housing capital fund was cut by 31 percent.27 As we’ve previously noted, access to quality education is critical in fighting poverty, but federal education programs have been cut by almost $40 billion since 2010.28 The 2013 sequester cuts resulted in 57,000 fewer children enrolled in Head Start.29 Housing vouchers lifted 2.8 million people — including 1 million children — above the poverty line in 2012,30 but only one in four households eligible for federal rental assistance receives it because of limited funding. Additionally, sequestration cuts caused the loss of 70,000 housing vouchers in 2013.31 Only one in six eligible children receives subsidized child care.32 More than eight in ten low-wage workers have no paid sick leave, forcing them to go without pay to take care of themselves or a sick family member.33 Expanding Medicaid provides health coverage for millions, many for the first time, but too many states have chosen the self-inflicted wound of refusing to extend coverage to their low-income neighbors. And the House has voted more than 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act altogether.34 Beyond halting cuts, we need additional investments in these programs to be able to reach those who haven’t yet been helped and remove the barriers that prevent all Americans from getting a fair shot to fulfill their potential. Too many aren’t able to access these lifesaving programs because of limited funding. Closing tax loopholes and ending tax breaks that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share will provide necessary revenues for these investments. The House Ways and Means Committee approved $614 billion in unpaid tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy in 2014.35 The House-passed budget, introduced by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), would provide at least $200,000 to each millionaire in FY 2015 alone and would increase Pentagon spending by $483 billion over sequestration levels.36 Tax reductions for the rich create few jobs. In fact, research of countries around the world – including the U.S. – found that cutting taxes for the wealthy does not lead to economic growth; instead, it leads to higher levels of inequality.37 It’s not that we as a country can’t afford to make the investments we need to increase jobs for all and help our struggling neighbors; it’s that we’re choosing not to.
  • 4. 4 Some Proposals that Purport to Fight Poverty Will Actually Increase It In addition to providing tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, budgets drafted by Chairman Ryan and adopted by the House over the past several years would drastically cut human needs programs that keep people out of poverty. Specifically, the House budget would slash SNAP by $137 billion, which would cut or end food assistance for millions of low-income families. The budget would gut Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program by $732 billion, drop 170,000 children from Head Start and 200,000 moms and children from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), repeal the Affordable Care Act and swell the ranks of the uninsured by at least 40 million, and on and on. All told, 69 percent – or $3.3 trillion – of the budget cuts in the most recent House-passed budget come from programs for people with low or moderate incomes.38 At the same time, the plan slashes taxes for the rich and super-rich by about $5 trillion.39 Just like his budgets, Chairman Ryan’s recently-released plan to fight poverty will actually do more harm than good, driving more people into poverty and driving the already poor further down. His plan would allow states to opt for a block grant of up to 11 safety net programs, including SNAP and numerous housing assistance programs. SNAP’s current effectiveness at reducing poverty comes from its ability to respond to increased need during hard times. But Ryan’s block grant would largely end that flexibility. Historically, most block grants have received fewer and fewer funds over time, resulting in reduced benefits and services.40 He promised that total funding to states taking the grant would not decrease, despite the fact that his budget proposes drastic cuts for most of the programs he would pool in the grant. Rep. Ryan says we need customized and personalized case management for each person needing aid. Some people would almost certainly benefit from these services, but they are expensive. Increased costs for case management will have to come from cuts in other services. His plan eliminates the Social Services Block Grant, despite the fact that it provides $1.7 billion in services to children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.41 His plan would exclude working poor immigrant families without a Social Security number from receiving the Child Tax Credit for their children, despite the fact that as many as 5.5 million low-income children would be affected, 80 percent of whom are U.S. citizens (a similar bill that passed the House in July would do this as well).42 His plan would require work in exchange for benefits, despite the fact that there are still two job seekers for every job available,43 with the situation far worse in many low-income communities, leaving many more out in the cold. Congress Needs to Make the Right Choices to Move Us All Forward Together We need more investments, not less, in programs that help people move up and out of poverty. Massive cuts like those in the House budget and wrongheaded policies like those in Rep. Ryan’s plan will not reduce poverty – they would increase it. At a time when poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity remain stubbornly high and our economy continues to leave too many behind, we need more investments in the programs that help our neighbors from falling even deeper into despair. Only this will lead to a shared economic growth and a shared prosperity for all, not just the wealthy and big corporations.
  • 5. 5 New Census Data Confirms Too Many Are Still Being Left Behind Numbers in 1000’s 2013 Number 2013 Percent 2012 Number 2012 Percent 2009 Number 2009 Percent All Poor 45,318 14.5 46,496 15.0 43,569 14.3 All Below 200% Poverty Line 106,024 33.9 106,376 34.2 100,411 33.0 Children in Poverty 14,659 19.9 16,073 21.8 15,451 20.7 Children below 50% Poverty Line 6,484 8.8 7,143 9.7 6,914 9.3 Poor Families with Children with at Least 1 Worker1 4,281 12.0 4,654 13.1 4,405 12.3 All Poor Blacks 11,959 27.1 11,809 27.1 10,575 25.9 Poor Black Children 4,838 36.9 4,815 36.7 4,480 35.4 All Poor Hispanics 12,744 23.5 13,616 25.6 12,350 25.3 Poor Hispanic Children 5,415 30.4 5,976 33.8 5,610 33.1 All Poor Asians 1,974 10.4 2,072 11.4 1,901 12.4 Poor Asian Children 457 9.6 570 12.5 531 13.3 All Poor Whites (Not Hispanic) 18,796 9.6 18,940 9.7 18,530 9.4 Poor White Children (Not Hispanic) 4,094 10.7 4,782 12.3 4,850 11.9 Poor Families with Children Headed by Women 3,937 39.6 4,099 40.9 3,800 38.5 Average Amount Below the Poverty Line, Income for all Poor Families $9,834 $9,785 $9,042 Poor with Disability2 4,352 28.8 4,257 28.4 All Uninsured 42,000 13.4 47,951 15.4 50,674 16.7 With Private Insurance 201,064 64.2 198,812 63.9 194,500 63.9 With Employer Insurance 169,000 53.9 170,877 54.9 169,700 55.8 Uninsured Working 18- 64 Year Olds 41,260 15.3 28,378 19.5 49,998 18.8 1. Row reads: Of families with children with at least 1 worker, X% are poor 2. This characteristic was not available in the 2009 data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2013 data released September 16, 2014. Racial/ethnic definitions: Black and Asian figures are from the Census category “Alone or in Combination.” Those listed as “Hispanic” may be of any race.
  • 6. 6 This report was prepared by Lecia Imbery, Senior Policy Writer for the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN). CHN is an alliance of national organizations working together to promote federal policies to address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable people. The Coalition’s members include service providers, policy experts, religious, labor, and civil rights organizations, and other advocates concerned with the well-being of low-income people, including children, women, seniors, and people with disabilities. Since 1981, the Coalition has been promoting policies to reduce poverty and expand opportunity. Recognizing that poverty reduction and broadly shared economic growth require investment of public dollars, CHN works for adequate funding for effective human needs programs and progressive tax policies. CHN has been a leader in the SAVE for All campaign (Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All), bringing together many thousands of advocates nationwide in support of four principles essential in federal budget or deficit reduction plans: protect low-income and vulnerable people; incorporate investments to create jobs; pay for sustainable public programs through increased revenues from fair sources; and seek savings by targeting wasteful spending in the Pentagon and other areas. 1 Census Bureau Current Population Survey data for 2013, accessed by the Coalition on Human Needs, September 2014. http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf 2 Census Bureau Current Population Survey data for 2013, accessed by the Coalition on Human Needs, September 2014. 3 American Community Survey data for 2013, accessed by the Coalition on Human Needs, September 2014. 4 http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032014/pov/pov01_200.htm 5 http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032014/pov/pov06_100.htm 6 http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032014/pov/pov06_200.htm 7 http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032014/pov/pov29_100.htm 8 http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf 9 http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/07_02_03.pdf 10 http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf 11 http://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2012.pdf 12 http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat01.pdf 13 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t08.htm 14 http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1565415/err173.pdf 15 http://help.feedingamerica.org/HungerInAmerica/hunger-in-america-2014-full-report.pdf 16 http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1565415/err173.pdf 17 http://hrms.urban.org/briefs/taking-stock-at-mid-year.pdf 18 http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-250.pdf 19 http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf 20 http://www.nber.org/papers/w20353 21 http://apps.cbpp.org/3-5-14tax/?state=US 22 http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3793 23 http://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/Working-Poor-in-America-report-Oxfam-America.pdf 24 http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/report/2014/03/05/85158/the-effects-of-minimum-wages-on-snap- enrollments-and-expenditures/ 25 http://www.epi.org/publication/bp357-federal-minimum-wage-increase/ 26 http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/tipped_minimum_wage_worker_wage_gap.pdf 27 http://www.chn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Shrinking-Funding-Since-2010-plus-FY-15-Updates-Attachment.pdf 28 http://cef.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Education-Budget-cuts-since-2010.pdf 29 http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/budget/report/2014/04/09/87430/how-the-ryan-budget-fails-our-economy- by-failing-economics/ 30 http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4098 31 http://www.offthechartsblog.org/why-and-how-congress-should-restore-lost-housing-vouchers/ 32 http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/Olivia-CCDBG-testimony-3-25-final.pdf 33 http://www.nationalpartnership.org/issues/work-family/paid-sick-days.html 34 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/03/21/the-house-has-voted-54-times-in-four-years-on- obamacare-heres-the-full-list/ 35 http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi- bin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp113&sid=cp113CY1L4&refer=&r_n=hr509.113&item=&&&sel=TOC_150983& 36 http://www.chn.org/human_needs_report/chn-chairman-ryans-budget-plan-passes-house-hitting-poor-harder-ever/
  • 7. 7 37 http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/budget/report/2014/04/09/87430/how-the-ryan-budget-fails-our-economy- by-failing-economics/ 38 http://www.chn.org/human_needs_report/chn-chairman-ryans-budget-plan-passes-house-hitting-poor-harder-ever/ 39 http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org/2012/03/23/paul-ryans-budget-plan-more-big-tax-cuts-for-the-rich/ 40 http://www.offthechartsblog.org/history-suggests-ryan-block-grant-would-be-susceptible-to-cuts/ 41 http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3765 42 http://www.chn.org/human_needs_report/chn-ryan-poverty-plan-increase-poverty/ 43 http://stateofworkingamerica.org/charts/job-seekers-ratio-total/

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