Domestic Poverty

September 7, 2007 • Volume 17, Issue 31
Is a new approach needed to help the poorest Americans?
By Thomas J. Billitteri


Many minimum-wage fast-food workers are among the more than 15 million Americans living in
Many minimum-wage fast-food workers are among the more than 15 million Americans living in "severe" poverty, with incomes of half or less of the official poverty threshold. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Despite sweeping welfare reforms in the 1990s and generally healthy economic growth in recent years, domestic poverty remains intractable. Moreover, signs are emerging that so-called deep poverty is growing sharply — most significantly among children. U.S. poverty is fueled by a long list of problems, including Katrina's devastation, immigration, the growing income gap between rich and poor, the subprime mortgage fallout and education disparities. Conservatives say solutions must emphasize personal responsibility, higher marriage rates and fewer out-of-wedlock births. Liberals focus on the negative effects of government budget cuts for anti-poverty programs, tax cuts benefiting the wealthy and the need for more early-childhood-development programs. The Democratic Congress is making poverty a priority issue, as are some of the presidential candidates. President Bush himself acknowledged the gap between rich and poor, raising hopes that a bipartisan effort would be found to reduce poverty.

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
General Employment and Labor
Low Income and Public Housing