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Desperate Measures: Survival Strategies of the Poorest of the Poor

Evidence has emerged that the number of families living with little to no income has climbed over the past two decades. While the 1996 welfare reform act is considered a historic achievement for incentivizing work and reducing the number of people receiving government assistance, people currently unable to find work are left with virtually no safety net.

During this panel discussion, Kathryn Edin, sociologist and coauthor of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, explained why assistance programs are essentially nonexistent for many who need them most. Her work provides context for recent findings from the Urban Institute on poverty-coping mechanisms. Urban scholar Susan Popkin discussed her work on youth in distressed communities. 



  • Kathryn Edin, Bloomberg distinguished professor, Johns Hopkins University
  • Adrianne Todman, executive director, District of Columbia Housing Authority
  • Susan J. Popkin, senior fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Gregory Acs, director, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute


  • Margery Austin Turner, senior vice president for programming planning and management, Urban Institute 
event materials

Date & Time Friday, February 26, 2016
Urban Institute 2100 M Street NW
5th floor
Washington , DC , 20037
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  • Institute Fellow
  • Vice President, Income and Benefits Policy
  • Institute Fellow
    Codirector, Disability Equity Policy Initiative
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