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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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When Harvard social scientist and celebrated author Robert Putnam lists the challenges facing poor Americans, family structure is always at the top.

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The extent to which we can limit the burden on staff and on families by better consolidating and coordinating food assistance programs, the better these families will be served and the better the government’s money will be spent.

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Judging by the views expressed by some of the nation’s leading family scholars, marriage’s days in America are numbered. Recent data may suggest otherwise.

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Federal Spending on Means-Tested Programs

Spending on poor families has increased dramatically over the past few decades.

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Increasing work and work supports and improving high-school graduation rates are better alternatives to Mayor  de Blasio’s antipoverty plan.

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Our nation’s food assistance programs are largely adequate to address very low food security and do so for the vast majority of households. However, fluctuations in income that result from work disruptions or other causes increase the likelihood of very low food security.

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Research, such as Dr. Edin’s, demonstrate that there are many low-income men of color who embrace fatherhood and want to support their children. At the same time, many display destructive behaviors, especially when they form new relationships.

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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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