PROGRESS or BABY AND BATHWATER

I’m doing some interesting research for an organization I’m helping on the voter participation side. As I worked on some positioning materials, I got pulled down a rabbit hole of data comparing poverty and progress and rates going back to 2007 (pre-recession). What I found helped me take a step back.

The progress we’ve made against poverty is worth paying attention to. Not just since 2007, or since 2014 — but since Donald Trump has come into office. At this juncture, and certainly by 2018, the impacts on our economy have some results borne of Donald Trump’s hand and policies and administration. As we flare up on the heels of last night’s election with what is certain to be a heated 12 months leading up to the 2020 election … I hope we can acknowledge any specific policies and benefits that have been had from all sides before casting our vote. There is progress, merit, and momentum outside of ideology that is worthy of being documented, studied, and even, carried forward

.#iamgrateful and #iamthankful for some of the progress shown below. It’s not nearly enough. One life subjected to poverty is one, entire life. One whole life. One whole human experience. That’s an unbearable thought for me. But also, progress to perfecting how we address the totality of the human condition.

The official poverty rate in 2018 was 11.8 percent, down 0.5 percentage points from 12.3 percent in 2017. This is the fourth consecutive annual decline in poverty. Since 2014, the poverty rate has fallen 3.0 percentage points, from 14.8 percent to 11.8 percent.

In 2018, for the first time in 11 years, the official poverty rate was significantly lower than 2007, the year before the most recent recession.

In 2018, there were 38.1 million people in poverty, approximately 1.4 million fewer people than 2017.Between 2017 and 2018, poverty rates for children under age 18 decreased 1.2 percentage points from 17.4 percent to 16.2 percent. Poverty rates decreased 0.4 percentage points for adults aged 18 to 64, from 11.1 percent to 10.7 percent. The poverty rate for those aged 65 and older (9.7 percent) was not statistically different from 2017.

From 2017 to 2018, the poverty rate decreased for non-Hispanic Whites; females; native-born people; people living in the Northeast, Midwest, and West; people living inside metropolitan statistical areas and principal cities; people without a disability; those with some college education; people in families; and people in female householder families.

Between 2017 and 2018, people aged 25 and older without a high school diploma was the only examined group to experience an increase in their poverty rate. Among this group, the poverty rate increased 1.4 percentage points, to 25.9 percent, but the number in poverty was not statistically different from 2017.

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