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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 15.1% of Americans were living below the poverty line, an increase of 15 million people since 2000. The United States has the second highest rate of child poverty among developed countries, behind Romania, according to UNICEF in 2012. Our series looks at how poverty is defined, how it affects health and mental health, how social and government programs designed to relieve poverty work and whether they're successful, homelessness, hunger, and the struggles of the working poor.

Recently in Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America

Minimum Wage and the Economics of Poverty

Monday, May 05, 2014

For our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Robert Reich discusses the economics of poverty, the debate over raising the minimum wage, and how the recession has affected the poorest Americans. He’ll also talk about how growing income inequality is connected to poverty, and a recent report that the American middle class is no longer the wealthiest middle class in the world and what that change means. Professor Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies and was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. He has written 13 books—his latest is Beyond Outrage—and the film "Inequality for All."

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The Poverty Beat

Monday, April 21, 2014

For this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Dale Maharidge, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Columbia Journalism School professor, and Greg Kaufmann, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former poverty correspondent for The Nation, discuss reporting on poverty and how poverty is portrayed—and why it’s under-covered—in the media. Kaufman is launching TalkPoverty.org on May 19.

Comments [14]

Food Insecurity and Hunger in America

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joel Berg, Executive Director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger talks about why food insecurity is so high in this country and what can be done to reduce it.

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Parenthood and Poverty in the Inner City

Monday, April 07, 2014

For this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Kathryn Edin and Timothy J. Nelson examine the problems of extreme poverty in cities like Camden, NJ (the poorest city in the country), Baltimore, and Philadelphia. The also investigate a number of the questions many have about the urban poor, such as: How do single mothers survive on welfare? Why were so many low-income women having children without marrying, when doing so seems so difficult? Where are the fathers and why do they disengage from their children’s lives? Why don’t more people work? Their book Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City is based on a multi-year ethnographic study of black and white low-income, unmarried fathers in inner-city Philadelphia and Camden and shows how major economic and cultural shifts have transformed the meaning of fatherhood among the urban poor.

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How Poverty Affects Mental Health

Monday, March 31, 2014

For the first part of this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, we’re finding out how poverty affects mental health. Epidemiologist Dr. Jane Costello examines the impact poverty has on mental health, especially among children. She tells us about her Great Smoky Mountains Study—a longitudinal study of more than 1,400 children in North Carolina—looking at who gets mental illness, who gets treatment, and how rising out of poverty improves the mental health of children and families. Dr. Costello is Associate Director for Research, Center for Child & Family Policy and Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University.

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Why Being Poor Is Bad for Your Health

Monday, March 31, 2014

For the second part of this week's installment of Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Dr. Benard Dreyer, Professor of Pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, and Dr. Peter Muennig, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, discuss the impacts poverty has on cognitive development and overall health, especially in children, and what policies could improve health and mental health of children and families.

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Who Relies on the Social Safety Net?

Monday, March 24, 2014

The notions of the Welfare Queen and of unemployed poor people taking advantage of federal programs like welfare and food stamps are hard to shake in our society, but they don’t represent a real picture of who relies on these safety net programs and why.

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Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America

Monday, March 17, 2014

For the first installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Sasha Abramsky, author of The American Way of Poverty, and Chris Wimer, researcher at Columbia Universty's Population Research Center, discuss how poverty is defined, and how that definition has changed—or remained stagnant—over time. They’ll also talk about what living in poverty means for individuals, families, and children, the ways of addressing poverty, and the successes and failures of the war on poverty in the 50 years since it was launched.

Comments [7]