Wednesday, March 16, 2016

HHS Releases New Report: 50-Year Trends and Safety Net Impacts

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HHS Releases New Report: 50-Year Trends and Safety Net Impacts

This week HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Planning and Research released a new report: Poverty in the United States: 50-Year Trends and Safety Net Impacts. The report highlights the vital role safety net programs have played since the beginning of the War on Poverty in helping families meet basic human needs. It also documents poverty trends for vulnerable populations such as single-mother families and workers without a college education. Key findings include:

·         The share of Americans lifted out of poverty each year by government programs and policies has increased tenfold since the 1960s.
·         The impact of the safety net on child poverty has grown substantially over time, reducing the number of children who do not have the resources to meet their basic human needs by just over 8 million in 2012.
·         The safety net mitigates the impact of economic contractions on the poverty rate. The safety net played a particularly important role in reducing poverty rates during the Great Recession.
·         In 2012 the full safety net cut the poverty rate nearly in half.
·         Social Security, tax credits for working families, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have the largest overall effects on the poverty rate.
·         Programs including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), housing assistance, and child support have a substantial impact on poverty rates among program recipients.

While the safety net successfully helps millions of families, poverty remains a persistent challenge for the nation. The report concludes with a discussion of how a strong safety net and anti-poverty strategies that focus on early childhood interventions, job-driven training, and place-based initiatives can further reduce poverty in the United States. To read the full report, click here. The HHS press release is attached.

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