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Great Gaps Persist in State Safety Nets, Interactive Policy Tool Shows

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Great Gaps Persist in State Safety Nets, Interactive Policy Tool Shows
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

Today, the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) launches an updated and enhanced edition of its 50-State Policy Tracker, a unique online tool for comparing safety net policies that are critical to the economic security of working families. The tool reveals striking variation among states, showing that state of residence has a major impact on whether low-income working parents succeed in making ends meet.

The Policy Tracker makes it easy for policymakers, journalists, social researchers, and advocates to quickly and accurately compare state policies and programs vital to the well-being of low-income families. It includes key state data for 10 important social programs:

  • Child care subsidies
  • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Family and medical leave
  • Income tax policy
  • Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Minimum wage
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Unemployment insurance

Hunger by the numbers in the African-American community

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Hunger by the numbers in the African-American community (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

In the United States, over 42 million people identify as African-American or black—13.6 percent of the U.S. population. Last year, poverty and hunger declined for the first time since the start of the recession.

Last year’s decline in poverty and hunger mirrors the decrease in unemployment that also occurred. Bread for the World believes that the best pathway out of hunger and poverty is a good job. African-Americans continue to suffer from disproportionately higher unemployment rates than the general U.S. population as well as any other major group despite the economic gains of the past few years.

Why Do SSI and SNAP Enrollments Rise in Good Economic Times and Bad?

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Why Do SSI and SNAP Enrollments Rise in Good Economic Times and Bad?
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The number of participants in the Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) skyrocketed during the Great Recession. But more surprising is that caseloads for both programs increased during the preceding expansion and during the nascent recovery period after the Great Recession. Using both administrative program data and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), this project investigates the persistent growth in SSI and SNAP since 2000. Whereas the existing literature on program caseloads in the post-welfare reform era generally excludes the elderly from the analysis, this project is the first to investigate differences in elderly and non-elderly caseloads, allowing for differential responsiveness over time. Preliminary estimates suggest that the correlation between SSI and SNAP caseloads and economic well-being, and, separately, caseloads and health, grew stronger over this time. Coupled with a poverty rate that did not fall along with the unemployment rate, and with an increase in the share of the population reporting poor or fair health, these correlations helped lead to caseloads that remained roughly constant (SSI) or even increased (SNAP) during the most recent expansion, rather than falling as expected. The increases in caseloads stem both from increases in the entry rates among the newly eligible – particularly those in poor health – and from decreases in exit rates among low-income beneficiaries.

An Overview of the Millennium Challenge Corporation

February 24, 2015 Comments off

An Overview of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (PDF)
Source: Center for Global Development

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US foreign assistance agency, was established with broad bipartisan support in January 2004. The agency was designed to deliver aid differently, with a mission and model reflecting key principles of aid effectiveness.

MCC has a single objective—reducing poverty through economic growth—which allows it to pursue development objectives in a targeted way. There are three key pillars that underpin MCC’s model:

1. Policies matter: MCC partners only with countries that demonstrate commitment to good governance on the premise that aid should build on those practices and reward countries already pursuing policies conducive to private investment and poverty-reducing growth.
2. Results matter: MCC seeks to increase the effectiveness of its programs by identifying cost-effective projects and investing only in those that promise to deliver positive development returns. MCC tracks the progress of its investments and has committed to measuring project impact through rigorous evaluations.
3. Country ownership matters: MCC works in partnership with eligible countries to develop and implement an aid program on the premise that investments are more likely to be effective and sustained if they reflect the country’s own priorities and strengthen the partner government’s accountability to its citizens.

A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality

February 24, 2015 Comments off

A Guide to Statistics on Historical Trends in Income Inequality
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

This guide consists of four sections. The first describes the commonly used sources and statistics on income and discusses their relative strengths and limitations in understanding trends in income and inequality. The second provides an overview of the trends revealed in those key data sources. The third and fourth sections supply additional information on wealth, which complements the income data as a measure of how the most well-off Americans are doing, and poverty, which measures how the least well-off Americans are doing.

Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America
Source: Vera Institute of Justice

Local jails, which exist in nearly every town and city in America, are built to hold people deemed too dangerous to release pending trial or at high risk of flight. This, however, is no longer primarily what jails do or whom they hold, as people too poor to post bail languish there and racial disparities disproportionately impact communities of color. This report reviews existing research and data to take a deeper look at our nation’s misuse of local jails and to determine how we arrived at this point. It also highlights jurisdictions that have taken steps to mitigate negative consequences, all with the aim of informing local policymakers and their constituents who are interested in in reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and promoting stronger, healthier communities.

Mobility Challenges for Households in Poverty

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Mobility Challenges for Households in Poverty (PDF)
Source: Federal Highway Administration (National Travel Survey)

The NHTS team has released a news brief concerning the mobility challenges for U.S. households in poverty. As the second highest household expenditure, transportation costs can have a disproportionately negative impact on lower income households. As a result, 2009 NHTS data has revealed that low income households have higher rates of carpooling, biking and walking. Additionally, low income households have lower rates of vehicle ownership as well as a shorter average daily radius of travel.

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