LBJ signing EOA
President Johnson signing the Economic Opportunity Act in August 1964. The law established the Office of Economic Opportunity to administer federal anti-poverty funds.(U.S. government photo via Wikipedia.)

INSTITUTE INDEX: The War on Poverty at 50

Date on which President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in the United States: 1/8/1964

Percent of Americans who were living in poverty at that time: 19

Percent living in poverty in 1969: 12.1

Percent living in poverty today: 15

Percent of Americans who lived in poverty for at least two months between 2009 and 2011: 31.6

Of the 37.6 million Americans who were living in poverty at the beginning of 2009, number who remained in poverty throughout the next three years: 26.4 million

Number of Americans who were not in poverty in 2009 but who slipped into poverty by 2011: 13.5 million

Of those Americans who managed to escape poverty between 2009 and 2011, percent who continued to have incomes less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold: about 50

Number of Americans today with incomes below half of the poverty line: 16 million

Official poverty line for a household of four: $23,554

In the 2009-2011 period, episodic poverty rate for whites: 25.4

For Hispanics: 49.6

For blacks: 45.3

In that same period, chronic poverty rate for whites: 2

For Hispanics: 6.4

For blacks: 8.6

Percentage points by which the poverty rate of African-American children exceeds that of white children: 20

Of the 10 states* with the highest official poverty rates averaged over 2010-2012, number in the South: 8

Percent by which the social safety net reduced the number of Americans in poverty in 1967: 4

In 2012: 44

Rank of food stamps among the biggest factors in reducing child malnutrition rates that in some impoverished U.S. communities resembled those of Third World nations: 1

Amount the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate recently voted to cut from the food stamp program over the next decade: $4 billion

Amount the Republican-controlled U.S. House voted to cut from the program: $39 billion

Percent of Americans who support the president and Congress setting a national goal to cut U.S. poverty in half within 10 years: 70

Percent who oppose it: 22

* Louisiana (21.3 percent), Mississippi (20.7), New Mexico (20.3), Georgia (18.5), Arizona (18.5), Arkansas (18.1), Texas (17.7), South Carolina (17.6), Kentucky (17.4), Tennessee (17.3).

(Click on figure to go to source.)

Image: 
President Johnson signing the Economic Opportunity Act in August 1964. The law established the Office of Economic Opportunity to administer federal anti-poverty funds.(U.S. government photo via Wikipedia.)
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