Monday, November 03, 2014

Poverty Is Not Permanent

There's a lot of handwringing about the nation's poor, and well there should be. But keep this in mind as the debate rages: poverty is not permanent. A Census Bureau study of poverty from 2009 through 2012 shows millions escaping poverty every year. Of the 35 million poor counted by the Census Bureau's Panel Study of Income Dynamics in 2009, a substantial 42 percent were not poor in 2012.

Of course, making a living wage is not necessarily permanent either. Among the 249 million Americans who were not poor in 2009, an unfortunate 6 percent had fallen into poverty by 2012. During the time period, which was marked by the struggle to recover from the Great Recession, the number of people sinking into poverty surpassed the number escaping it—15.7 million fell in and 14.8 million climbed out.

Source: Census Bureau, Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty 2009-2012

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