Poverty & Dependence Highlights
- From 2005 to 2015, the number of people living in subsidized housing increased by about 1 million. “While providing assistance to those in need is important, taxpayers should not be required to subsidize rents that they themselves could not afford,” argues Robert Rector.
- The self-sufficiency rate declined between 2004 and 2014 as the poverty rate increased by 2.1 percentage points. The poverty rate has fluctuated only slightly over the past 50 years. “Welfare is destructive because it pays people not to work, automatically giving them a check or a benefit every month even if they don’t work — and so they don’t,” writes Tarren Bragdon.
- The labor force participation rate among working-age Americans is at its lowest level since the 1980s. From 2005 to 2015, it fell by 1.9 percentage points. To turn the tide, Jo Kwong discusses “what is working to help more people, especially the unemployed and underemployed, achieve greater employment success.”
- Over 40 percent of children are born outside of marriage every year. From 2004 to 2014, this number grew by 4.4 percentage points. Children born to married parents are less likely to be poor, explains Kevin Dayaratna: “Policies to eradicate child poverty should thus be aimed at strengthening marriage, reforming our welfare programs that penalize marriage, and improving education.”
Poverty & Dependence Indicators & Commentary
- Labor Force Participation Rate
With commentary by Jo Kwong: “Innovations in Training for the American Labor Force”
- Unwed Birth Rate
With commentary by Kevin D. Dayaratna: “Attacking the Roots of Child Poverty
With commentary by Tarren Bragdon: “Showing the Way to Self-Sufficiency
- Total Welfare Spending
With commentary by Jay Wesley Richards: “The Welfare System’s Perverse Incentives Undermine Self-Sufficiency
- Subsidized Housing Participation
With commentary by Robert Rector: “Our ‘Lake Wobegon’ Public Housing Policy
- Food Stamp Participation
With commentary by Mary C. Mayhew: “How International Design Increased Dependence on Food Stamps and Undermined Work”
- TANF Participation
With commentary by Timothy Jeffries: “American Principles Lead to Opportunity for All
- TANF Work Participation Rate
With commentary by Rachel Sheffield: “Most Work-Eligible Welfare Recipients Are Not Working
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