Most Americans will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75. Poverty rates are persistently higher in rural and inner city parts of the country as compared to suburban areas.
In 2009, 13.2% Americans lived in poverty. Starting in the 1930s, relative poverty rates have consistently exceeded those of other wealthy nations. California has a poverty rate of 23.8%, the highest of any state in the country. This is updated from the November 2012 estimate of 23.6.
In 2009 the number of people who were in poverty was approaching 1960s levels that led to the national War on Poverty. In 2011 extreme poverty in the United States, meaning households living on less than $2 per day before government benefits, was double 1996 levels at 1.5 million households, including 2.8 million children.
In 2012 the percentage of seniors living in poverty was 14% while 18% of children were.
Recent census data shows that half the population qualifies as poor or low income, with one in five Millennials living in poverty. Academic contributors to The Routledge Handbook of Poverty in the United States postulate that new and extreme forms of poverty have emerged in the U.S. as a r...
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...to reduce poverty. According to the 2013 Columbia University study which created the method of measuring poverty, without such programs the poverty rate would be 29% today. An analysis of the study by Kevin Drum suggests the American welfare state effectively reduces poverty among the elderly but provides relatively little assistance to the working-age poor. A 2014 study by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that without social programs like food stamps, social security and the federal EITC, the poverty rate in the U.S. would be much higher. Nevertheless, the U.S. has the weakest social safety net of all developed nations. Sociologist Monica Prasad of Northwestern University argues that this developed because of government intervention rather than lack of it, which pushed consumer credit for meeting citizens ' needs rather than applying social welfare policies as in Europe.
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