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					Reducing Poverty and Promoting
   Family Economic Success
            Mark Greenberg
 Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality
            and Public Policy
      Center for American Progress
              May 4, 2009
      U.S. Poverty and Child Poverty Rates, 1959-2007

30%

25%

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%
  59
  62
  65
  68
  71
  74
  77
  80
  83
  86
  89
  92
  95
  98
  01
  04
  07
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
20
20
20
                          Overall   Children
           Nearly 40 percent of children have incomes
              below 200 percent of poverty
                           Under 100%          100%-200%




                                                    26.1%    32.2%

      21.2%
                      16.1%           16.7%
                                                    34.5%
                                                             28.6%
      18.0%                           12.5%
                      10.1%

   All children     White Not          Asian        Black   Hispanic
                    Hispanic

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 CPS data
        Short and Long Term Poverty
 • All Americans
    – 1 in 3 are poor in a 13-year period.
    – 5 percent are poor for at least 10 in 13 years.
 • Children
    – 35-36 percent ever poor in childhood.
    – 6-8 percent poor 11 plus years.
        • 23-28 percent African-American children, 3-4 percent
          non-African-American.



Sources: All – Blank, It Takes a Nation;
Children – Duncan, Longitudinal Indicators of Children's Poverty and Dependence.
            Child Poverty in U.S.
 high compared with other developed nations


• UNICEF report, using relative income measure:
   – US ranked 24th of 24 nations on child poverty.
   – US child poverty rate 22.7 percent, versus 11.3
     percent average.
   – However, US ranked 5th on share of children in
     household with working parent.


 UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre: Child Poverty in Perspective:
 An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Nations (2007)
                             International Comparison:
          Mobility Outcomes for Men Whose Fathers Were in Bottom Quintile


                             Remained in              Climbed 1 to 3
                             Bottom 5th               Quintiles               Reached Top 5th

Denmark                                         25%                     64%                        14%

Finland                                         28%                     64%                        14%

Norway                                          28%                     60%                        12%

Sweden                                          26%                     63%                        11%

United Kingdom                                  30%                     57%                        12%

United States                                   42%                     50%                        8%

Source: Brookings Institution, summarizing findings from Jäntti et al. 2006. “American
Exceptionalism in a New Light: A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic
Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States”
Center for American Progress Task
         Force on Poverty
• After Katrina, CAP convened Poverty Task
  Force --- diverse group of experts and leaders.
• Task Force Charge:
  – Make the case for why nation should address
    poverty.
  – Make recommendations for what to do about it.
• Overarching recommendation:
  – National goal of cutting poverty in half in ten
    years.
       CAP Task Force Four-Pronged Strategy
Promote decent work: People should work, and work should pay
  enough for workers and families to avoid poverty, meet basic
  needs, save for future.
Provide opportunity for all: Children should grow up in conditions
  that maximize their life chances. Adults should have opportunities
  to connect to work, get more education, live in good
  neighborhoods, move up in the workforce.
Ensure economic security: Americans should not fall into poverty
  when they cannot work or work is unavailable, unstable, or pays
  too little.
Help people build wealth: People should have assets that protect
  them during unstable periods and permit them to climb the ladder
  of economic mobility.

Guiding Principle of Progressive Universalism: Broad-based
  help, with the most help to those who need it most.
    Estimated Impacts on Reducing Poverty
               Overall Poverty Child Poverty
               Impact          Impact
Minimum        -5%            -6%
Wage
EITC           -6%            -4%

Child Tax      -9%            -20%
Credit
Child Care     -8%            -14.5%

Cumulative     -26%           -41%
             Federal and State Roles
 Parts of poverty reduction strategy necessarily federal:
   • Single biggest program reducing poverty is social security
   • Federal tax and other benefits programs play key roles
   • Federal government can be countercyclical
   • Can do more for states with least resources

 Crucial role for states:
  • Incubator for new ideas
  • Organize service delivery for key populations
      – unemployed workers, families, youth, others
  • Coordinate, facilitate access to benefits
  • Regulate and enforce on many business standards
       President Obama and Poverty
• Goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years.
• Extensive set of proposals, some already in Recovery
  Act and Budget.
   –   refundable tax credits
   –   child care and early education, early learning challenge grants
   –   end child hunger by 2015
   –   Seven days paid sick days, expand Family and Medical Leave
   –   20 Promise Neighborhoods (Harlem Children’s Zone replications
   –   $1 billion for transitional jobs and career pathways
   –   Green jobs, engage disconnected youth
   –   Prison to Work initiative
   –   Raise minimum wage
    Minnesota: 6 broad strategies
• Restore work as a way out of poverty
• Refocus public assistance to streamline services,
  support everyone’s capacity and potential
• Help Minnesotans build and maintain financial assets
• Revitalize communities through infrastructure and
  person to person support
• Modernize education system
• Develop ongoing structure to monitor Minnesota’s
  efforts to end poverty
              New York City
• Mayor Bloomberg
  – Commission for Economic Opportunity
  – Center for Economic Opportunity
• Now operating multiple programs
  – Expanded education access – CUNY ASAP,
    accelerated LPN training
  – Tax credits -- child care, EITC
  – Office of Financial Literacy
  – Opportunity NYC
         NYC Strategic Approach
• Break cycle of intergenerational poverty by human
  capital development strategy
• Toolbox to help working poor move up
• Skills and work experiences for out of school youth
• Intervene early for children 0-5
• Break down silos within government
• Use data and evaluation, allocate resources based on
  results.
• Share lessons learned, engage in national advocacy.
                       Some links
• Center for American Progress, From Poverty to Prosperity: A National
  Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half,
  http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/04/pdf/poverty_report.pd
  f
• Legislative Report, Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020,
  http://www.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/lcep/LCEP_Final_Report_SingleP
  gs.pdf
• NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, Early Achievements and Lessons
  Learned,
  http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/early_achievement_report_
  2008.pdf

• Mark Greenberg, mhg22@law.georgetown.edu or
  mgreenberg@americanprogress.org

				
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