September 10, 2019—The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that the official poverty rate fell to 11.8 percent, reaching pre-recession levels for the first time since the economic recovery began 10 years ago. According to the new data, 38.1 million people were living in poverty in 2018, down from 39.5 million in 2017, and the number of children living in poverty fell from 12.8 million to 11.9 million. This represents important progress, but it is not sufficient. Disparities by race, ethnicity, and immigration status persist, and the breadth of economic insecurity, and its depth for particular groups, is unacceptable in a nation with the United States’ resources and its aspiration of providing opportunity for all. Research and experience have taught us how to effectively bolster economic security, and it is time to build on what we know works and to take bold action to promote the well-being of children and families.
“Economic insecurity is a problem which we can solve now. We know who is underserved by our current system of supports. And we know how to promote security and stability. It is time to advance an agenda that ensures all children and families have what they need to thrive,” said Megan Martin, Vice President for Public Policy at the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
CSSP is committed to an agenda that promotes family economic security and equity by supporting caregiving, promoting early learning, and providing an income floor so that children and families have boundless opportunities. The poverty data released today show that fewer people are living in poverty this year, and that marks important progress. However, with 38 million people still living in poverty, it also indicates there is enormous work left to do. Small and incremental policy changes will not guarantee that all families are economically secure. It is time for bold action.
About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at www.CSSP.org.