Poverty in the US

A study by the Columbia Population Research Center (authored by Christopher Wimer, Liana Fox, Irv Garfinkel, Neeraj Kaushal, and Jane Waldfogel) looks at the poverty rate in the US using more information than the traditional poverty rate formula. They find that the poverty rate has mostly declined from 1967 to now (from 26% to 16%). Kevin Drum notes that this disguises things a bit, so here are the graphs for the three age groups they look at (click on them to see the bigger versions, the red lines are the new formula):


Wow, Social Security and Medicare have done a great job.


Hmm, starting  in the early 1990s it looks like things improved.


Not much change here.

And now let’s look at what the poverty rate looks like with and without government help:


So, the government programs reduces the poverty rate from about 29% to 16% (and it decreases deep poverty from about 19% t0 6%) –wow, government really works. I guess that’s why conservatives want to cut these programs.

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