Fighting Urban Poverty

July 17, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 26
Is more federal aid needed?
By Jane Fullerton Lemons


Demonstrators in Chicago call for an increase in the federal minimum wage (Getty Images/Scott Olson)
Demonstrators in Chicago call for an increase in the federal minimum wage on April 15, 2015. President Obama has proposed an increase from the current $7.25 an hour minimum to $10.10. Republicans generally oppose an increase, contending it would raise costs for business that could lead to job cuts. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)

This year's unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, arising from alleged police misconduct in the deaths of black men, cast a light on impoverished conditions not only in those cities but in urban areas throughout the country. From Philadelphia and New York to Kansas City and Los Angeles, joblessness, poor schools, crime, blight, high incarceration rates and segregated housing patterns have helped drive millions of Americans — many of them minorities — into poverty. In some localities, up to a third of the residents subsist below the federal poverty line. Many experts say economic growth is essential to combat urban poverty. But beyond that, policymakers are divided on how to help the poor, with some advocating a higher minimum wage and more government social programs and others stressing personal responsibility and economic incentives to spur business growth in inner cities. With Congress gridlocked, some states and cities are moving on their own to help the urban poor, including increasing the minimum wage.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Poverty and Homelessness
Jan. 11, 2019  Domestic Poverty
Aug. 04, 2017  Poverty and Homelessness
Jul. 17, 2015  Fighting Urban Poverty
Oct. 10, 2014  Housing the Homeless
Oct. 28, 2011  Child Poverty
Sep. 07, 2007  Domestic Poverty Updated
Jun. 18, 2004  Ending Homelessness
Dec. 22, 2000  Hunger in America
Apr. 07, 2000  Child Poverty
Jan. 26, 1996  Helping the Homeless
Aug. 07, 1992  The Homeless
Mar. 30, 1990  Why Homeless Need More Than Shelter
Sep. 30, 1983  Hunger in America
Oct. 29, 1982  The Homeless: Growing National Problem
Jan. 25, 1967  Status of War on Poverty
Feb. 05, 1964  Persistence of Poverty
Jun. 06, 1956  Pockets of Poverty
Civil Rights Movement
Crime and Law Enforcement
Economic Development
Low Income and Public Housing
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Segregation and Desegregation
Sentencing and Corrections
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Welfare and Welfare Reform
Work and the Family