Center for Applied Research and Public Policy (CARPP)

  Publications - Income and Poverty

Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues

No one likes the current welfare system. Governors complain that federal law is overly prescriptive and are willing to take less federal money in return for more flexibility. The public believes that welfare is anti-work and anti-family although polls show that the public wants welfare reformed in ways that do not penalize children. article

The Suburbanization of American Poverty

Since December 2007, working families and communities across the country have faced an increasingly difficult economic reality. Growing unemployment and cutbacks in work hours and wages have made it harder and harder for people to make ends meet. So the census numbers released in September really just confirmed what many Americans have already been feeling during this “Great Recession.” U.S. poverty is once again on the rise. In the first year of the downturn alone, the poor population grew by 2.6 million people to reach a total of 39.8 million, or 13.2 percent of the population.  article

 Young Americans Have Less Wealth Than Their Parents, No Matter How You Measure- by C. Eugene Steuerle (April 9, 2013)

My colleagues and I recently published research showing that younger age groups are falling behind their parents in wealth accumulation and explaining the story behind our numbers. Some have raised questions about how we use our data, and I want to take some time to further explain our research. Article

The Story Behind The Numbers: Why people in their 30s have less wealth than their parents' generation- by Signe-Mary McKernan

Our recent study “Lost Generations? Wealth Building among Young Americans” showed that young Americans are falling behind in building wealth. While the average wealth of American households doubled over the last quarter century, people in their 20s and 30s did not share in that growth. The average wealth of 20- and 30-year-olds in 2010 was 7 percent lower than the average wealth of those in their 20s and 30s in 1983. Those who took the largest hit were people ages 29 to 37 in 2010—their wealth fell by 21 percent. Why? Article

Earned Income Tax Credit in the United States- by Elaine Mag

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial assistance to low-income working families with children. The credit encourages work for many, though may reduce work or wages for some. Counted in the poverty measure, the EITC would have been credited with lifting 6.5 million people out of poverty in 2012. The credit fails to provide substantial benefits to workers without children, is complicated, has a high erroneous payment rate, and creates substantial marriage penalties for some low- and moderate-income couples. Extending the credit to workers without children or replacing it with an individual worker credit could solve some or all of these criticisms. Article

DC's economic recovery: an unequal distribution-by Gregory Acs

As Mayor Bowser settles into her office, she leads a city that is growing more prosperous. Unfortunately, too many DC residents are not sharing in that prosperity, resulting in uneven economic progress across the city. Following the most recent recession, economic progress in DC has been mixed: median income rose, but so did unemployment. Article

Bridging the Gap: Exploring the Intersection of Workforce Development and Child Care

New economic realities have focused attention on how to best design workforce development strategies to help low-wage and low-skill workers succeed. Lack of child care is one important barrier that can make it difficult for low-income parents to successfully participate in education and training programs. This report provides an overview of the child care and workforce development systems, and discusses the issues that lie at the intersection of these two worlds. It concludes with a description of next steps for policymakers and practitioners in each domain, and important questions that still need to be examined. Article

Understanding race and income concentration in public schools is a local (and important) story- by Reed Jordan

In 2013, for the first time, over half of public school students were low-income—and this poverty growth spurt shows little sign of abating. A majority of public school students nationwide are from low-income families, according to analysis by the Southern Education Foundation. But mapping this disadvantage shows that it’s unevenly spread across the country: poverty is concentrated in specific schools, and black students are more likely than white students to attend these high-poverty schools. Article

The Landscape of Recession: Unemployment and Safety Net Services Across Urban and Suburban America

Two years after the country entered the Great Recession, there are signs the national economy has slowly begun to recover. Thus far recovery has meant the return of economic growth, but not the return of jobs. And just as some communities have felt the downturn more than others, recovery has not and will not be shared equally across the nation’s diverse metropolitan economies. article

 The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America

The Federal Reserve System and its 12 member banks partnered with the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program to produce a new, in-depth look at concentrated poverty in America. The two-year study, The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America, profiles 16 high-poverty communities across the United States, investigating the historical and contemporary factors associated with their high levels of economic distress.  article

 How to Reverse the Trend of Concentrated Poverty

One of Cleveland's neighborhoods made the Washington scene earlier this month.  Alas, it wasn't up for a multibillion-dollar bailout. Instead, the Central neighborhood and 15 other communities across the United States were the centerpiece of a new report published by the Federal Reserve System and the Brookings Institution.
These communities share a simple, disappointing characteristic. In 2000 - the peak of the last economic boom - at least 40 percent of their residents lived below the federal poverty line. That was about three times the national average.   article

U.S. Asset Poverty and The Great recession by Caroline Ratcliffe and Sisi Zhang

The 2000s saw the stock market and housing prices soar, only to be followed by sharp declines in both. With these declines came decreases in economic output and sharp increases in unemployment. The Great Recession was born. Many families suffered declines in wealth, most through falling home values, some through drops in stock prices and business values, others from spending down savings due to unemployment or under employment. The Great Recession highlighted the importance of emergency savings to weather unforeseen economic events, and the U.S. savings rate ticked upward. fact sheet

Overcoming Concentrated Poverty and Isolation

Low-income families that live in distressed, high-poverty neighborhoods face especially daunting
challenges as they attempt to leave welfare, find jobs, earn an adequate living, and raise their children.
In these neighborhoods, crime and violence are common, jobs are scarce, schools are often ineffective, and young people see few opportunities for success. An extensive and growing body of social science research indicates that living in these high-poverty communities undermines the long-term life chances of families and children—cutting off access to mainstream social and economic opportunities. Neighborhood distress—and its consequences for families—constitutes a serious, long-term challenge to public policy. article
Confronting Concentrated Poverty in Tough Economic Times Federal Reserve Board of Governors
by: Alan Berube

The report demonstrates that in addition to managing the macroeconomy, the Fed also possesses a unique and powerful understanding of the U.S. economy from the ground up, which is absolutely necessary for designing smart policy in turbulent times like these. article

What Do We Know About Differences Between CPS and ACS Income and Poverty Estimates? by: Charles Nelson

Review of Methodological and Conceptual Differences--
These differences include: Modes of data collection: The CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) uses computer-assisted interviews, either in person or over the phone, and the ACS uses mail
out/mailback questionnaires with computer-assisted non-response follow-up interviews either in
person or over the phone. article

Poverty in America: How We Can Help Families by: Olivia Golden

For every distressing national poverty statistic, the numbers for children are worse. While one-sixth of all Americans live in poverty and one-third live in "near poverty," with incomes below twice the poverty level, one fourth of children under age five are poor and nearly half fall into the "near poor" category. article

Concentrated Poverty and Regional Equity Findings from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership's Shared Indicators Initiative by: G. Thomas Kingsley and Rob Pitingolo

America does not have an “urban problem” it has many different urban problems. Since the start of this century the nation’s large urban regions have moved in varying directions on a number of key dimensions of capacity and well being. This means that, if they are to be effective, policy responses are going to have to be more carefully crafted to fit the circumstances in individual metropolitan areas. article

Family Complexity and Poverty

The American family has changed dramatically over the past half century, increasing in instability, diversity, and complexity. More people are having children outside of marriage (Fig. 1), some with partners and others as single parents; more unmarried couples are living together; up to half of couples that do marry, divorce; and many couples with children that break up go on to have more children with new partners. Fact brief

A Guide for Neighborhood Revitalization

For many American cities, deindustrialization and globalization have undermined their traditional manufacturing-based economies, leaving unemployment, poor schooling and generational poverty in their place. Since the mid 1990s, there has been increasing recognition of the role that “eds and meds,” i.e. institutions of higher education and medical facilities, play in the urban economy and the life of their cities generally. These institutions reflect a knowledge-based economy that is now dominant in American cities.  booklet

Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs 2004 to 2007 and 2009 Who Gets Assistance?

This report focuses on the participation and characteristics of people who received benefits from any of the
following means-tested assistance programs. article

Is there more to Food Insecurity Among Children Than Poverty? The Importance of Measurement
by: Vanessa Wight, NeerajKaushal, Jane Waldfogel, IrwinGarfinkel

This paper examines the association between poverty and food insecurity among children using
the official measure of poverty and the new supplemental poverty measure of the Census Bureau based on a more inclusive definition of family resources and needs Our objective is to study whether the association between food insecurity and poverty improves with a more comprehensive measure of income and needs. article
The Impact of Incarceration on Food Insecurity among Households with Children- by Sally Wallace and Robynn Cox

An important step to reaching the goal of eliminating childhood hunger is a better understanding of the scope of the problem. Our research adds to that understanding by identifying the extent and determinants of very low food security and food insecurity among children and households that include incarcerated parents. article

The Effect of Safety Net Programs on Food Insecurity- by Tara Watson, Lara Shore Sheppard and Lucie Schmidt

Does the safety net reduce food insecurity in families? In this paper we investigate how the structure of benefits for five major safety net programs–TANF, SSI, EITC, SNAP, and Medicaid– affects low food security in families and very low food security among children. We build a calculator for the years 2001-2009 to impute eligibility and benefits for these programs in each state, taking into account cross-program eligibility rules. article
The Child and Adult Care Food Program and Food Insecurity- by Colleen Heflin, Irma Arteaga and Sara Gable

High rates of food insecurity are a significant problem in the United States. It is currently
estimated that more than 48.8 million people live in food insecure households, meaning that at
some time during the previous year, they were unable to acquire or were uncertain of having
enough food to meet basic needs due to inadequate household resources (Coleman-Jensen,Nord,Andrews, & Carlson, 2011). article

Low Income Preschoolers’ Non-Parental Care Experiences and Household Food Insecurity - by Irma Arteaga, Sara Gable,and Colleen Heflin

Rates of food insecurity in households with children have significantly increased over the past decade. The majority of children, including those at risk for food insecurity, participate in some form of non-parental child care during the preschool years. To evaluate the relationship between the two phenomenon, this study investigates the effects of child care arrangements on food insecurity in households with children. article

FOOD INSECURITY ACROSS THE FIRST FIVE YEARS: TRIGGERS OF ONSET AND EXIT* by  Alison Jacknowitz, Taryn W. Morrissey, and Andrew Brannegan  

Very low food security among young children is associated with developmental deficiencies. However, little is known about the factors that predict entry into or exit from very low food security during early childhood. article

Family Structure, Work Patterns and Time Allocations:Potential Mechanisms of Food Insecurity among Children- by Kelly Balistreri, PhD

Food insecurity—the lack of consistent access to adequate amounts of food remains a reality of many low-income American families. For example, 21.3 percent of U.S. household with children experienced food insecurity during 2009, the highest recorded level since data collection on food security began in 1995. article
Number of People Living in 'Poverty Areas' Up, Census Bureau Reports
One in four U.S. residents live in "poverty areas," according to American Community Survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau from 2008 to 2012, up from less than one in five in 2000. These areas of concentrated poverty refer to any census tract with a poverty rate of 20 percent of more. The number of people living in poverty areas increased from 49.5 million (18.0 percent) in 2000 to 77.4 million (25.7 percent) in 2008-2012. The 2012 American Community Survey five-year estimates show a U.S. poverty rate of 14.9 percent. News Brief
Beyond Broke- Why Closing the Racial Wealth is a Priority for National Economic Security- By Rebecca Tippett, Ph.D., Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D., Maya Rockeymoore, Ph.D., Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D., William Darity, Jr., Ph.D

Despite overwhelming evidence that the racial wealth gap persists in the U.S., it remains a taboo topic in mainstream policy circles and most officials studiously avoid offering targeted solutions to help close this gap. However, this issue is ignored at our nation’s peril given the anticipated growth of racial and ethnic groups over the next few decades. Article

Economic Inequality in the United States- by Lars Osberg

Few areas of economics are as contentious as a study of economic inequality and, in part, this is because at the same time that "equality" is for many a deeply held value about how society should be, "inequality" is a description of how society is. The most straightforward definition of economic inequality is probably "differences among people in their command over economic resources" (although to be useful one must be more specific about which economic resource and how it is measured).  Read article

The Population of Poverty USA- Poverty USA

In 2014, 47 million people lived in Poverty USA. That means the poverty rate for 2014 was 15%. Fact brief

Top 10 Poverty in Africa Facts- The Borgen project

How bad is poverty in Africa? The situation is improving, but Africa remains the poorest continent on Earth. But what many people may not know are the effects of poverty in Africa—including hunger, disease and a lack of basic necessities. Fact brief 

Africa Hunger and Poverty Facts- Hunger Notes

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry/undernourished in 2014-6 (its most recent estimate). 795 million people were hungry worldwide.  Sub-Saharan Africa was the area with the second largest number of hungry people, as Asia had 512 million, principally due to the much larger population of Asia when compared to sub-Saharan Africa. Fact brief

Poverty in Africa- Children international

Poverty, at its most extreme form, is destitution. It’s trying to survive without even the most basic of needs, like food, water or shelter. For sub-Saharan Africa, that’s the reality for almost half of the population. Fact brief

Poverty in Africa: The States and the Facts- AfricaW

Some westerners are often surprised when they visit Africa for the first time and see happy faces all around them. Fact brief

Fact Sheet: Poverty in South Africa- SARPN

New estimates of poverty show that the proportion of people living in poverty in South Africa has not changed significantly between 1996 and 2001. However, those households living in poverty have sunk deeper into poverty and the gap between rich and poor has widened. The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in collaboration with Mr Andrew Whiteford, a South African economist, has generated these estimates. Fact sheet 

Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities

This workshop is a comprehensive approach to understanding the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty from the individual to the systemic level. Read article