Source Newsroom: University of Michigan
EDITORS: Sheldon Danziger, director of the National Poverty Center, University of Michigan, is available to discuss the U.S. Census Bureau latest national poverty figures that will be released Sept. 10.
Newswise — The official poverty rate has never fallen below its 1973 level, but a University of Michigan researcher says this could change after the economy recovers from this recession if anti-poverty policies put in place by this year's stimulus package are made permanent.
The 2007 U.S. poverty rate was 12.5 percent---or 37.3 million people---and remains higher than the rates in most other advanced economies, said Sheldon Danziger, the H. J. Meyer Distinguished University Professor of public policy.
The U.S. rate is likely to rise above 14 percent in 2009 and 2010, but could begin to fall in a few years, he said.
"It will take both a healthy economy and expanded government programs to reduce poverty, given the kind of labor market we've had for the last 30 years," he said.
For the last 30 years, government leaders have given minimal attention to anti-poverty policies.
But, the Obama Administration stimulus package implemented policies to assist low-income working families, including expanded earned tax income and child tax credits, as well as unemployment insurance and food stamp benefits, he said. Still, more policies are needed if poverty is to fall below double digits, Danziger said.
Danziger and Maria Cancian, professor of public affairs and social work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, edited a newly published book "Changing Poverty, Changing Policies," which documents how economic, social, demographic, and public policy changes since the early 1970s have altered who is poor and where antipoverty initiatives have kept pace or fallen behind.
For more on Danziger, visit: www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?ExpID=174
National Poverty Center: www.npc.umich.edu/
Russell Sage Foundation: www.russellsage.org/publications/books/090728.344540