Poverty by the Numbers Report Reveals a Cruel Nation


Flag-99-862-sig-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

As Republicans in Congress are poised to cut billions from the food stamp program, a new report about poverty in America reveals how many millions of Americans need social safety net programs like food stamps.

Ever since President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in 1964, capitalists and their Republican lackeys have been working hard to dismantle the collection of progressive policies that Johnson and the Democratic Congress passed– food stamps, Head Start, Medicaid, Medicare, low-cost student loans, work study programs and more.

In 1964, the rate of poverty in the US was 20%; with the War on Poverty in full swin, it had dropped to 11% by 1973. Now, thanks to the slow dismantling and defunding of anti-poverty programs, the US poverty rate is 15%, according to the new report published by The Nation and Bill Moyers; 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty. This translates to a family of three with an income of less than $17,916. The most impoverished Americans are children with 22% of all American children living in poverty; this includes 39% of African-American children and 34% of Latino children. Women are far more likely to be poor than men, and that scenario is gradually worsening.

Highlights– or lowlights, depending upon how you look at it– of the report after the jump.

U.S. poverty (less than $17,916 for a family of three): 46.2 million people, 15.1 percent

Click pie chart to enlarge. Read the full report at the National Center for Children in Poverty website.

Children in poverty: 16.1 million, 22 percent of all children, including 39 percent of African-American children and 34 percent of Latino children. Poorest age group in country.

Deep poverty (less than $11,510 for a family of four): 20.4 million people, 1 in 15 Americans, including more than 15 million women and children

People who would have been in poverty if not for Social Security, 2011: 67.6 million
(program kept 21.4 million people out of poverty)

People in the U.S. experiencing poverty by age 65: Roughly half

Gender gap, 2011: Women 34 percent more likely to be poor than men

Gender gap, 2010: Women 29 percent more likely to be poor than men

Twice the poverty level (less than $46,042 for a family of four): 106 million people, more than 1 in 3 Americans

Jobs in the U.S. paying less than $34,000 a year: 50 percent

Jobs in the U.S. paying below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000 annually: 25 percent

Poverty-level wages, 2011: 28 percent of workers

Percentage of individuals and family members in poverty who either worked or lived with a working family member, 2011: 57 percent

Families receiving cash assistance, 1996: 68 for every 100 families living in poverty

Families receiving cash assistance, 2010: 27 for every 100 families living in poverty

Impact of public policy, 2010: Without government assistance, poverty would have been twice as high — nearly 30 percent of population

Percentage of entitlement benefits going to elderly, disabled or working households: Over 90 percent.

Number of homeless children in U.S. public schools: 1,065,794

Annual cost of child poverty nationwide: $550 billion

Federal expenditures on home ownership mortgage deductions, 2012: $131 billion

Federal funding for low-income housing assistance programs, 2012: Less than $50 billion