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Poverty Studies

Low-income Americans are struggling. Poverty has risen, the work participation rate is at its lowest point since the 1970s, and median incomes have stagnated. AEI’s work on poverty seeks to reverse that trend by enhancing opportunity for low-income Americans. From safety net policy to education and family policy, AEI aims to provide pathbreaking work on the root causes of poverty, and the policy changes that most effectively address them. This page contains an up-to-date selection of content from AEI’s scholarly community.

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Shifting composition of SNAP households

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to almost 46 million people – a two-fold increase since 2006. The dramatic increase in participants and expenditures have led to proposals for cuts and work requirements to control costs.

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Social enterprises may be a better alternative to government-sponsored programs for hard-to-employ people.

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growth is the best social program

We can expect a few more years of elevated poverty rates unless the economy improves and more Americans join the labor force.

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Marriage has a transformative effect on adult behavior, emotional health, and financial well-being—particularly for men.

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The decline of marriage is a problem because it is one of the primary reasons that the richer and poorer classes in our country are increasingly separate and unequal.

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Healthcare coverage eating up large share of spending on poor

Finding a way to pay for additional programs for the poor – such as EITC expansions, child care improvements, and job-training programs – will be difficult without addressing the current spending trajectory for Medicaid and SNAP.

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America’s churches have grown weakest in some of the communities that need them most: poor and working-class communities across the country.

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The federal government spent $65.2 billion on the EITC in FY 2014, of which 27.2% or $17.7 billion were improper.

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W. Bradford Wilcox reviews Robert Putnam’s new book, “Our Kids,” in which Putnam argues that children’s access to the core institutions that foster their development—strong families, strong schools, strong communities—is increasingly separate and unequal.

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With little public attention, the Obama administration has been changing America’s child-support enforcement. The most recent Census Bureau report found that in 2011 fewer than 50% of single mothers had child-support orders—down from almost 60% in 2003.

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