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ERIC Number: ED263226
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Poverty in America: Trends and New Patterns.
O'Hare, William P.
Population Bulletin, v40 n3 Jun 1985
Over 35 million Americans were officially poor in 1983, 15.2 percent of the total population-the highest figures since the mid-1960s. Some attribute continued poverty to government social welfare policies. But poverty among the nonelderly is linked much more to economic trends. The number in poverty dropped from 39.5 million (22.4 percent of the population) in 1959 to a low of 23 million (11.1 percent of the population) in 1973, fluctuated with the economy to 1978, and then rose sharply. The 1978-83 rise was greatest among groups with traditionally lower poverty rates who were harder hit by deep recession and unemployment in the early 1980s--younger adults of working age and their children, male-headed families, and Whites. With economic recovery in 1984, the 1984 poverty rate should be lower than 1983's. The bulk of increased federal social spending since the mid-1960s has gone to the elderly, whose poverty rate plunged from 35.2 to 14.1 percent between 1959 and 1983. The value of "means-tested" Aid to Families with Dependent Children payments and food stamps fell 22 percent between 1972 and 1984. In 1983, the poverty rate of Blacks was 36 percent versus 12 percent for Whites, and 40.5 percent in female-headed versus 9.3 percent in male-headed families. The dearth of "marriageable" Black men appears more important than welfare in explaining the increase in poor Black female-headed families. Welfare is still needed for vulnerable groups, but poverty and expenditures could be reduced in the long run by expanded government-sponsored job training and educational programs. (Author/CMG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Population Reference Bureau, Inc., Washington, DC.