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UK — State of the Nation 2014 Report

October 23, 2014 Comments off

State of the Nation 2014 Report
Source: Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Cabinet Office, Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions

This is the Commission’s second annual State of the Nation report to be presented to Parliament. The Commission was created by the UK Government in 2012 as an independent and statutory body to monitor and report on what is happening to child poverty and social mobility in our country.

The report assesses what the UK government, the Scottish government and the Welsh government are doing (the Commission’s remit does not cover the Northern Ireland government), what progress is being made, and what is likely to happen in future. The report also examines the role of employers and professions, councils and colleges, schools and universities, parents and charities. The report makes a number of recommendations for action.

This is the last State of the Nation report prior to the 2015 UK General Election. As such it presents a verdict on the past and provides a window into the future. The central conclusion is that the next government will have to adopt radical new approaches if poverty is to be beaten, mobility improved and if Britain is to avoid becoming a permanently divided society. We define that as the 2020 challenge.

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Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Poor Unchanged, Based on Supplemental Measure of Poverty

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Poor Unchanged, Based on Supplemental Measure of Poverty
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The nation’s poverty rate was 15.5 percent in 2013, down from 16.0 percent in 2012, according to the supplemental poverty measure released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2013 rate was higher than the official measure of 14.5 percent, but similarly declined from the corresponding rate in 2012.

Meanwhile, 48.7 million were below the poverty line in 2013 according to the supplemental poverty measure, not statistically different from the number in 2012. In 2013, 45.3 million were poor using the official definition released last month in Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013.

These findings are contained in the Census Bureau report The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2013, released with support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and describing research showing different ways of measuring poverty in the United States.

The supplemental poverty measure serves as an additional indicator of economic well-being and provides a deeper understanding of economic conditions and policy effects.

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Save Safety Net Programs Billions and Help Ensure Businesses Are Doing Their Fair Share

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Save Safety Net Programs Billions and Help Ensure Businesses Are Doing Their Fair Share
Source: Economic Policy Institute

More than five years have passed since the federal minimum wage was raised to its current level of $7.25 per hour. Over that time, the value of a minimum-wage income has fallen nearly 10 percent due to rising prices. Yet this decline is small in comparison to the drop in value of the minimum wage over the past four decades. After rising in line with economy-wide productivity in the three decades following its inception in 1938, the federal minimum wage has been raised so inadequately and so infrequently since the late 1960s that today’s minimum-wage workers make roughly 25 percent less in inflation-adjusted terms than their counterparts 45 years ago. Indeed, a full-time, full-year minimum-wage worker with one child is paid so little that income from her paycheck alone leaves her below the federal poverty line.

This failure to adequately raise the wage floor has contributed strongly to the stagnation of wage growth at the bottom of the wage distribution. This wage stagnation has, in turn, been the single greatest impediment to making rapid progress in poverty reduction in recent decades. Indeed, all of the decline in poverty reduction in recent decades can be accounted for by safety net and income-support programs (Bivens et al. 2014). In fact, managers at some of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States today actively encourage their employees to seek public assistance to supplement meager paychecks (Eidelson 2013). All of this has led many to conclude that American employers are too often dodging their responsibilities as partners in the social contract—the understanding that Americans who work hard should be paid enough to make ends meet. Instead, too many low-wage employers are leaving both taxpayers and, more importantly, low-wage workers themselves to pick up the slack.

Recent protests calling for higher wages at many of these companies have highlighted this widening rift between what businesses are paying and what workers need to survive. Among the protesters’ demands is that employers begin paying workers adequately, instead of relying upon public funds to give their workers a decent standard of living even as corporate profits reach record highs.

This issue brief examines the use of public assistance programs by low-wage workers and assesses how raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over three years—as proposed by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2014, a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)—could affect utilization rates, benefit amounts, and government spending on these programs.

Impact of socioeconomic deprivation on rate and cause of death in severe mental illness

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Impact of socioeconomic deprivation on rate and cause of death in severe mental illness
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
Socioeconomic status has important associations with disease-specific mortality in the general population. Although individuals with Severe Mental Illnesses (SMI) experience significant premature mortality, the relationship between socioeconomic status and mortality in this group remains under investigated. We aimed to assess the impact of socioeconomic status on rate and cause of death in individuals with SMI (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) relative to the local (Glasgow) and wider (Scottish) populations.

Methods
Cause and age of death during 2006-2010 inclusive for individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder registered on the Glasgow Psychosis Clinical Information System (PsyCIS) were obtained by linkage to the Scottish General Register Office (GRO). Rate and cause of death by socioeconomic status, measured by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), were compared to the Glasgow and Scottish populations.

Results
Death rates were higher in people with SMI across all socioeconomic quintiles compared to the Glasgow and Scottish populations, and persisted when suicide was excluded. Differences were largest in the most deprived quintile (794.6 per 10,000 population vs. 274.7 and 252.4 for Glasgow and Scotland respectively). Cause of death varied by socioeconomic status. For those living in the most deprived quintile, higher drug-related deaths occurred in those with SMI compared to local Glasgow and wider Scottish population rates (12.3% vs. 5.9%, p?=?<0.001 and 5.1% p?=?0.002 respectively). A lower proportion of deaths due to cancer in those with SMI living in the most deprived quintile were also observed, relative to the local Glasgow and wider Scottish populations (12.3% vs. 25.1% p?=?0.013 and 26.3% p?=?<0.001). The proportion of suicides was significantly higher in those with SMI living in the more affluent quintiles relative to Glasgow and Scotland (54.6% vs. 5.8%, p?=?<0.001 and 5.5%, p?=?<0.001).

Conclusions
Excess mortality in those with SMI occurred across all socioeconomic quintiles compared to the Glasgow and Scottish populations but was most marked in the most deprived quintiles when suicide was excluded as a cause of death. Further work assessing the impact of socioeconomic status on specific causes of premature mortality in SMI is needed.

Global Monitoring Report 2014/2015 : Ending Poverty and Sharing Prosperity

October 11, 2014 Comments off

Global Monitoring Report 2014/2015 : Ending Poverty and Sharing Prosperity
Source: World Bank

The Global Monitoring Report 2014/2015 will, for the first time, monitor and report on the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity, while continuing to track progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This Global Monitoring Report examines how a select set of policies in the areas of human capital and the environment can create jobs and make development more inclusive and sustainable, while highlighting how social assistance policies can help end poverty and improve growth prospects. It discusses most of these issues across a full spectrum of countries. This means the Report not only addresses low- and middle-income countries but also, for the first time, includes a discussion of high-income countries as well.

The Report will contain quantitative information about the World Bank Group’s twin goals: It will provide an assessment on how far the world has to go to end extreme poverty by 2030 and how much of prosperity has been shared with the bottom 40 percent of a country’s population.

The report is prepared in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The war on poverty at 50: significant progress made, but renewed dedication needed

October 7, 2014 Comments off

The war on poverty at 50: significant progress made, but renewed dedication needed
Source: Bread for the World Institute

The United States cut poverty in half during the late 1960s and the 1970s. However, progress stalled in the 1980s as the issue of poverty moved further down the priority list for members of Congress and the president. Despite the advancements made since 1964, poverty is still far too high in the United States.
• 46.5 million Americans live in poverty.
• More than one in five children live in poverty.
• 49 million people, including one in six children, live in homes that struggle to put food on the table.
• A parent working full-time at minimum wage earns about $14,500 a year—$4,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.

Community Eligibility Database: Eligible and Near-Eligible Schools by Identified Student Percentage

October 6, 2014 Comments off

Community Eligibility Database: Eligible and Near-Eligible Schools by Identified Student Percentage
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

This searchable database provides information on the schools that will be eligible in the 2014-2015 school year for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a powerful new tool to ensure that low-income children have access to breakfast and lunch at no charge through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. High-poverty schools and school districts in all states can adopt CEP starting with the new school year.

CEP allows school districts, individual schools, or groups of schools to offer two nutritious meals daily to all students at no charge if their Identified Student Percentage (ISP) is at least 40 percent. The ISP represents the share of students who are approved for free meals without an application because they either have been identified as low income by another program (such as SNAP, formerly food stamps) or are considered at risk of hunger (because they are homeless or in foster care, for example).

Under CEP, schools with higher ISPs receive higher federal reimbursements for the meals they serve, which makes CEP more financially viable. Schools with an ISP of 62.5 or higher will have all meals reimbursed at the highest federal rate, known as the free rate.

Each state was required to publish a list of schools eligible for CEP by May 1. This database is based on that information and includes the state, school district (also known as the Local Educational Agency or LEA), the school, the school’s ISP, and the school’s enrollment, if the state published those items. To select more than one option in a given category, hold down the Control key when making selections.

This database is not a comprehensive list of all schools in every state or school district. Some states published lists of all schools regardless of eligibility, while other states published lists only of eligible and near-eligible schools or only of eligible schools.

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