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The War on Poverty at 50


Date on which President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in the United States: 1/8/1964

Percent of Americans who were living in poverty at that time: 19

Percent living in poverty in 1969: 12.1

Percent living in poverty today: 15

Percent of Americans who lived in poverty for at least two months between 2009 and 2011: 31.6

Of the 37.6 million Americans who were living in poverty at the beginning of 2009, number who remained in poverty throughout the next three years: 26.4 million

Number of Americans who were not in poverty in 2009 but who slipped into poverty by 2011: 13.5 million

Of those Americans who managed to escape poverty between 2009 and 2011, percent who continued to have incomes less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold: about 50

Number of Americans today with incomes below half of the poverty line: 16 million

Official poverty line for a household of four: $23,554

In the 2009-2011 period, episodic poverty rate for whites: 25.4

For Hispanics: 49.6

For blacks: 45.3

In that same period, chronic poverty rate for whites: 2

For Hispanics: 6.4

For blacks: 8.6

Percentage points by which the poverty rate of African-American children exceeds that of white children: 20

Of the 10 states* with the highest official poverty rates averaged over 2010-2012, number in the South: 8

Percent by which the social safety net reduced the number of Americans in poverty in 1967: 4

In 2012: 44

Rank of food stamps among the biggest factors in reducing child malnutrition rates that in some impoverished U.S. communities resembled those of Third World nations: 1

Amount the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate recently voted to cut from the food stamp program over the next decade: $4 billion

Amount the Republican-controlled U.S. House voted to cut from the program: $39 billion

Percent of Americans who support the president and Congress setting a national goal to cut U.S. poverty in half within 10 years: 70

Percent who oppose it: 22

* Louisiana (21.3 percent), Mississippi (20.7), New Mexico (20.3), Georgia (18.5), Arizona (18.5), Arkansas (18.1), Texas (17.7), South Carolina (17.6), Kentucky (17.4), Tennessee (17.3).

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