Today the U.S. Census Bureau released new data indicating that the poverty rate fell slightly in 2017 to 12.3 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from 2016.
While any decrease in the number of people in poverty is good news, it is the position of New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research that the momentum should be continued through efforts to make sure that low-income communities get the resources they need.
“A decline in poverty rate is a step in the right direction, but the Census Bureau’s report still shows 39.7 million people in poverty, a number that barely budged from the previous year. That is far too many people and proves that now would not be the time to cut back on programs that address the root causes and effects of poverty,” says Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, the institute’s Chief Operating Officer.
She continues: “This report also illustrates the vital importance of Census data in identifying populations in need so that resources can be allocated where they are needed. Plans to add a citizenship question to the Census may result in undercounting people living in communities in need—particularly immigrants and their family members, regardless of citizenship status—and therefore hamper efforts to address poverty in America.”
Read more here about the McSilver Institute’s work to research the root causes of poverty and develop evidence-based interventions to address its consequences.