Poverty remains at record highs. Is that because welfare reform failed, or because it succeeded all too well?BY Chris Rhomberg
In September, the Census Bureau released the latest figures on poverty in America. You may not have noticed, because the report made barely a ripple in the media or the midterms. It showed that from 2012 to 2013, the overall poverty rate fell by half a percentage point, to 14.5 percent—the first statistically significant decline since 2006.
The modest turnaround might be cause for hope, but poverty still remains well above the pre-Great Recession rate of 12.5 percent in 2007. In raw numbers, 45.3 million people lived below the poverty threshold in 2013. That’s close to the peak of 46.2 million in 2010, the greatest number in the more than 50 years the government has tracked the data.