Poverty in the UK

A third of people in the UK have experienced poverty in recent years, By Katie Allen, May 16, 2016, The Guardian: “One in three people have experienced poverty in recent years, according to figures that underline the precarious nature of work in Britain. Anti-poverty campaigners welcomed news that the proportion of people experiencing long-term, or persistent, poverty had declined to one of the lowest rates in the EU. But they highlighted Britons’ relatively high chances of falling into poverty as the latest evidence that a preponderance of low-paying and low-skilled jobs left many families at risk of hardship…”

Low-Income Families with Children

Parents, education, and the relentlessness of low incomes, By Ami Albernaz, April 6, 2015, Boston Globe: “Many aspects of the economic picture have improved since the height of the recession in late 2008. Yet the number of children living in families categorized as poor or near-poor remains stubbornly high, recently released figures from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University show. Analyzing data from the US Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, the latest available, researchers found 44 percent of kids in the US live in low-income families, with half of these families categorized as poor. These figures are up 13 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from pre-recession rates in 2007. Low-income families of four with two children are defined as having an annual income below $47,248; poor families (also of four with two children) are defined as having an income below $23,624…”

Ohio Poverty Report

Report: Half of Ohioans one paycheck away from poverty, By Jona Ison, March 11, 2015, Marion Star: “Despite a rosy outlook on employment, poverty in Ohio is the highest since 1960, and about half of Ohioans are one paycheck away from not making ends meet.  In 2012, 1.8 million Ohioans — 16.3 percent of residents — were living in poverty, up about 100,000 people from 2010. Poverty is growing fastest in Ohio’s suburbs, nearly twice as fast as in metropolitan areas, according to the annual State of Poverty report released this week by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies…”

Safety Net Programs and the Poor

Aid to needy often excludes the poorest in America, By Patricia Cohen, February 16, 2015, New York Times: “The safety net helped keep Camille Saunders from falling, but not Charles Constance. The difference? Ms. Saunders has a job, and Mr. Constance does not. And therein lies a tale of a profound shift in government support for low-income Americans at a time when stagnating wages and unstable schedules have kept many workers living near or below the poverty line. Assistance to needy Americans has grown at a gallop since the mid-1980s, giving a hand up to the disabled, the working poor and married couples with children. At the same time, though, government aid directed at the nation’s poorest individuals has shrunk…”

The Near-Poor in the US

Five percent of Americans hover just above poverty, By Carol Morello, May 1, 2014, Washington Post: “Almost 5 percent of Americans struggle living just one step above poverty, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. The ranks of the near-poor, as they are called, are more likely to be women than men, and lack even a high school degree, the report said. The highest rate, 6.3 percent, was among African Americans. The census report examining what has happened to the near-poor since the mid-1960s shone a spotlight on those whose incomes rise above poverty thresholds, but only by 25 percent or less. In 2012 dollars, a family of four would be considered near-poor if their income fell between $23,283 and $29,104…”

Poverty Rate – New York City

City report shows more were near poverty in 2011, By Sam Roberts, April 21, 2013, New York Times: “The rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession has apparently eased, but not before pushing nearly half of the city’s population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor in 2011, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration. That year, according to the city’s measure, about 46 percent of New Yorkers were making less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold, a benchmark used to describe people who are not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. That represents a rise of more than three percentage points since 2009, when the nation’s recession officially ended. By the city’s definition, a family with two adults and two children could earn $46,416 a year and still fall within 150 percent of the city’ poverty level. Unlike the official but rigid federal poverty level, the city’s measure balances the added value of tax credits, food stamps, rent subsidies and other benefits against expenses like health and day care, housing and commuting that reflect New York’s higher living costs…”

Poverty Rate – Illinois

  • Report: 1 in 3 Illinoisans living in, near poverty, Associated Press, January 16, 2013, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “One-third of Illinois residents are living in or near poverty, more than during the depths of the Great Recession, according to a new report that suggests the trend is not slowing and that state budget cuts have exacerbated the problem. Almost 1.9 million Illinoisans, or 15 percent, live in poverty, up from 12 percent when the recession began in late 2007. An additional 2.2 million, or 18 percent, are close to the poverty level, compared with 16.2 percent in 2007, according to the report issued Wednesday by the Chicago-based Social IMPACT Research Center…”
  • 1 in 5 in suburbs in or near poverty, By Jamie Sotonoff, January 16, 2013, Daily Herald: “Carolyn Schutz has a college degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, plus decades of experience as a teacher and a business manager. She actively searches for full-time work, but the 66-year-old Wheaton woman has been able to land only a part-time administrative job that pays $8.25 an hour. Her monthly take-home pay is around $350, she said. It’s made basic necessities, like the furnished room she rents and gas for her car, almost impossible to afford, despite government assistance and help from suburban charities…”

The Near Poor in the US

America’s near poor: 30 million and struggling, By Tami Luhby, October 24, 2012, CNNMoney: “They aren’t in poverty, but they are just a step away from falling into its clutches. More than 30 million Americans are living just above the poverty line. These near poor, often defined as having incomes of up to 1.5 times the poverty threshold, were supporting a family of four on no more than $34,500 last year. They are more likely to be white than those in poverty, according to a CNNMoney analysis of Census Bureau data. They are more likely to be elderly. They are more than three times as likely to work full-time, year-round. And they are more likely not to receive help from the government…”

Financial Hardship and the Near Poor – New Jersey

Report: More than one-third of New Jersey households either mired in poverty, or close to it, By Mark Spivey, September 3, 2012, MyCentralJersey.com: “Olivia Maxwell pauses, momentarily puzzled and maybe even a little taken aback by the question of whether she considers herself to be part of New Jersey’s middle class. Then it hits her – of the dozens of questions facing her every day, this one ranks pretty much at the bottom of the barrel in terms of importance. How many meals she’ll be able to squeeze out of a carton of eggs and a handful of packages of Ramen noodles – now that’s a question. The same is true of whether the shot brakes and worn tires on her aging Honda Accord are going to hold up for a little longer; if not, there goes a week’s worth of paid vacation, because her next paycheck won’t arrive in time to cover repairs, forcing her to stay home. Then there’s the question of whether she’s going to be able to afford summer camp for her 12-year-old son Quincy next year; she sure hopes so, because things came up just short this year and the look on his face ate her up inside…”

Economic Mobility in the US

Middle class dropouts, By Tami Luhby, January 11, 2012, CNNMoney.com: “Nearly one third of Americans who were raised in the middle class dropped down the economic ladder as adults — and that’s before the Great Recession hit. ‘Being raised in the middle class is not a guarantee that you’ll have that same status as an adult,’ said Erin Currier, project manager at Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. ‘With all the economic turmoil in the past four years, there’s good reason to think that downward mobility is more severe.’ Pew looked at children born in the early- to mid-1960s and assessed their economic status roughly 40 years later. Being middle class in the parents’ generation meant a household income of roughly $33,000 to $64,000 in 1979. But their children had to earn between $54,000 and $111,000 to maintain their relative standing in society in the mid-2000s…”

Census Data on Income and Poverty

1 in 2 people are poor or low-income, census shows, By Hope Yen (AP), December 15, 2011, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income. The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families. ‘Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too ‘rich’ to qualify,’ said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty…”

Poverty Measurement in the US and Canada

  • The Near Poor: Many educated, employed Americans struggle to make ends meet, By Elizabeth Stuart, November 30, 2011, Deseret News: “Federal poverty statistics may not paint an accurate picture of how Americans are getting along economically, two new studies suggest. About 45 percent of U.S. residents who are not considered poor by federal standards don’t have enough money for basic expenses like housing, food and health care, according to a new study by the advocacy group Wider Opportunities for Women. And the number of people hovering just above the federal poverty threshold is 76 percent higher than official records indicate, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data published in the New York Times…”
  • In U.S., Canada, new measures of the poverty line, By Miles Corak, November 28, 2011, Globe and Mail: “U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Rebecca Blank — a capable, no-nonsense, PhD in economics, and a former Dean at the University of Michigan — to his new administration, and told her to answer a simple question: How should the United States measure poverty? Blank did an end-run around the sad politics that has characterized discussions of poverty measurement in the U.S. by having the Census Bureau develop an entirely new indicator that reflects the realities of participating in contemporary American society…”

Census Poverty Data

  • Older, suburban and struggling, ‘near poor’ startle the Census, By Jason DeParle, Robert Gebeloff and Sabrina Tavernise, November 18, 2011, New York Times: “They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by. Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called ‘near poor’ and sometimes simply overlooked – and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood. When the Census Bureau this month released a new measure of poverty, meant to better count disposable income, it began altering the portrait of national need. Perhaps the most startling differences between the old measure and the new involves data the government has not yet published, showing 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people – one in three Americans – either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it…”
  • Counting the poor in America proves difficult, controversial, By Elizabeth Stuart, November 18, 2011, Deseret News: “How many poor people are there in America? It depends how you ask the question. The official U.S. Census Bureau report released in September put the number at 46.2 million. In a second, unofficial report published last week, the bureau estimated the number is closer to 49 million. The official measure, devised in 1964 to measure progress in President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” is based on the idea that families spend one-third of their income on food. To establish federal poverty lines, experts calculated the lowest annual cost of feeding a family and multiplied it by three. Poverty experts have long criticized the method as outdated and simplistic. The measure does not account for money received in food stamps and other benefits or the money lost to taxes and medical care. It also doesn’t account for regional differences in cost of living. The new report, known as the supplemental poverty measure, attempts to address these factors…”