Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011
The National Poverty Center’s Policy Brief series summarizes key academic research findings, highlighting implications for policy.
Recently, there has been considerable discussion in the US news media and by presidential candidates about the fact that nearly half of US American households receive government benefits.
The prevalence of extreme poverty rose sharply between 1996 and 2011. This growth has been concentrated among those groups that were most affected by the 1996 welfare reform. Despite the presence of a substantial inkind safety net, a significant number of households with children continue to slip through the cracks. And it is unclear how households with no cash income—either from work, government programs, assets, friends, family members, or informal sources—are getting by even if they do manage to claim some form of in-kind benefit, writes writes H. Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin.