September 14, 2018

Economic Recovery Fails to Reach the Poorest Americans

Washington, D.C. – New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of people living in poverty last year fell to 39.7 million or 12.3 percent of the U.S. population, which is not a statistically significant reduction from 2016. The report, “Income and Poverty in the United States,” reveals that the median household income has gone up only slightly, but that income is not increasing at all for the poorest Americans.

“This is disappointing news. The conventional wisdom would say that economic growth should reduce the number of people in poverty,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Sadly, that is not happening now. While people at the top are making more, the incomes of the poorest Americans remain flat or are falling as is the case in African American communities.” 

Last week, the U.S.  Department of Agriculture released its annual report on food security in the United States. It showed that 40 million people struggled with hunger in 2017. While the numbers are down from the prior year, hunger is still more widespread than it was in 2007 before the recession. Millions of Americans still struggle to put food on the table.

“The poverty and hunger numbers both show that the current economic recovery is not doing much for those who suffer most. Unemployment has declined, but too many people are working low wage jobs,” Beckmann said. 

Poverty impacts all communities. But the data continues to show that African Americans, Latinos, and Indigenous communities experience disproportionately higher rates of poverty and hunger, as do female-headed families. Children also suffer from high rates of poverty and hunger.

Safety-net programs moderate poverty and hunger. Yet, the Trump administration and many members of Congress are seeking cuts to these programs.

“Proposals to make deep cuts to and add more work requirements to programs, such as SNAP, will not help people find better jobs. Instead, these proposals will push millions of families deeper into hunger and poverty,” Beckmann said. “If lawmakers want people to pull themselves out of poverty and hunger, Congress should focus on policies that improve job opportunities and address existing inequities for low-income communities, especially African American and Latino communities.”   

Bread for the World Institute’s 2018 Hunger Report, The Jobs Challenge: Working to End Hunger by 2030, offers Congress a menu of policies that would improve job opportunities for low-income workers. 

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017

Insight

The Jobs Challenge

April 10, 2018

From the Blog