Fifty years ago this month President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a nearly $950-million anti-poverty bill into law, creating Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Economic Opportunity Act. President Johnson envisioned a wealthy country where no child would go unfed or unschooled. Five decades on, the official poverty rate has dropped, but childhood poverty is on the rise, as is income inequality. With no victory to declare, is it time for another war on poverty? Our guest is Angela Glover Blackwell. She responded to that question in New York Times’ “Room for Debate” series. She is founder and CEO of Policy Link, a national research and action institute which works to improve access and opportunity for people of color and residents of low-income community.
Los Angeles’ skid row has the nation’s largest concentration of homeless people. For nearly 30 years, this nexus of impoverished shelters and cardboard boxes has also been home to the Los Angeles Poverty Department, an arts and performing arts group comprised of people who live and work on skid row. The other LAPD makes theater about experiences common to people living in poverty – like addiction, incarceration, and the psychology of victimization – for stages all over the world. Their play “Hospital” follows the dysfunction of the American health care system, and is being performed at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on January 17th and 18th. John Malpede is Founding Artistic Director, and Kevin Michael Key is a performer and Community Coordinator for the group.
Scarcity is a kind of great equalizer. Whether it be less sleep, security, time, food, money or whatever a person needs, scarcity hijacks the mind, diminishes intelligence, and lowers resistance to temptation. Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton set out to find evidence for what happens to our minds when we have too little – and how scarcity shapes our choices and behaviors. He's coauthor of the new book is Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.
Behind the numbers are the experiences of America's poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we'll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw.
Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy this summer opened up the floodgates for stories of its decline. Documentary films, photo essays, and articles reveal a once-proud American city, home to world’s highest-paid workers and a strong middle class, as a shell of its former self. Some residents are finding hope among the abandoned neighborhoods, crumbling municipal buildings, and rusting car factories that made the motor city hum.
According to Oxfam, the world’s poor spend three-quarters of their income on food. A survey by Save the Children found that 24 percent of families in India, 27 percent in Nigeria and 14 percent in Peru now have foodless days. Pictured: A young girl in India cries for food.
In his first term, President Obama boosted Pell grants and reformed federal financial aid in hopes of increasing college access for low-income students. Despite these efforts, there is another problem preventing the less privileged from getting an education – a disconnect between poor families, and the arcane bureaucracy surrounding the admissions process.
New Hampshire has the lowest child poverty rate in the country. That’s according to new numbers released by the Census Bureau.
In the United States, the poverty line works out to less than $23,000 a year for a family of four—that means two parents and two children. And fewer than one out of eight New Hampshire kids are living below that line. That’s good news. But Carsey Institute researcher Jessica Bean says the same family of four with even twice that income—close to $46,000—is still struggling.
Recently we’ve seen dueling definitions of what it means to be poor. The U.S. Census Bureau came up with two figures, depending on whether factors like food stamps are included. And another study defined poverty as having scant resources. But some have long said that poverty figures are exaggerated and used for political purposes.
Beth Mattingly: Director of Research on Vulnerable Families at the Carsey Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
President Clinton prepares to sign legislation overhauling America's welfare system at the White House Rose Garden on Aug. 22, 1996. Today, the ranks of the nation's poor have swelled to a record 46.2 million — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — as the prolonged pain of the recession leaves millions still struggling and out of work.
Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.
A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments — what's often thought of as welfare — was at an all-time high.