Economic Security Programs Cut Poverty Nearly in Half Over Last 50 Years

Posted by Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on December 10, 2019

Researchers from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed Census data and Supplemental Poverty Measurement (SPM) data from Columbia University to determine the impact of economic security programs on U.S. poverty levels. The SPM data account for regular income as well as earned income from security programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Based on the researchers’ findings, the poverty rate has fallen from 26 percent in 1967 to 14.4 percent in 2017. In 2018, poverty levels hit a record low at 12.8 percent, using the SPM as a measure. Researchers also found that government assistance lowered the number of people in poverty by 43 percent in 2017 and that in 2018, economic security programs helped lift 37 million people above the poverty line.

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