The blog of the Urban Institute
September 18, 2013

Experts weigh in: Are we losing the war on poverty?

September 18, 2013

If you’re a regular reader of MetroTrends, then you probably know that our bloggers have a lot to say about what it’s like to be poor in America. In advance of the release of the 2012 annual poverty numbers, Urban Institute researchers opined on welfare myths, long-term unemployment, and safety net programs like SNAP.

The United States Census Bureau released the numbers yesterday, and based on that report, it’s clear that we need to keep having these discussions.

The good news, if you can call it that: There hasn’t been a significant increase in the number of Americans living in poverty. From 2011 to 2012, the rate held steady at 15 percent.

The bad news: That means 46.5 million Americans are still struggling to pay their bills and feed their families.

So, does that mean America is losing its well-publicized “war on poverty”? We asked a panel of experts, including Brookings Institution’s Elizabeth Kneebone, Manhattan Institute’s Scott Winship, The Nation’s Greg Kaufmann, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein, Center for American Progress and Half in Ten’s Melissa Boteach, Pennsylvania State Representative Dave Reed, MDRC, and a handful of Urban Institute researchers to share their thoughts on research, policy, and poverty.

Read the full Branch conversation after the jump. Want to contribute? Add your take in the comments.


Photo by Matt Rourke/AP


As an organization, the Urban Institute does not take positions on issues. Experts are independent and empowered to share their evidence-based views and recommendations shaped by research.