"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the
abundance of those who have much. It's whether we
provide enough for those who have too little."
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
For more information: AAUW Fact Sheets and Position Papers on Affirmative Action, Athletics, Education, Managed Care Reform, Reproductive Rights, and Social Security Reform.
North Country Matters Video: Poverty in St. Lawrence County, NY: A panel of local people discussed the way poverty manifests itself at the SUNY Canton's Campus Center's Kingston Theater on Feb. 5, 2014 as part of a week of activities sponsored by the International Student Activist Organization (ISAO). The panel members were Amani M. Awwad, PhD, and associate professor and chair of the social sciences department at SUNY Canton, Mary Ann Ashley, Village of Canton Mayor, Thomas R. Burns, superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Christopher Rediehs, St. Lawrence County commissioner of social services, 116th NYS Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, and Steven J. Todd, assistant superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. The panel moderator was Donna Seymour, a member of the St. Lawrence County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Public Policy Vice President for AAUW-NYS. This program was recorded and edited by Paige Smith, Comm & Media Student, Clarkson University. (May 4, 2014)
Video: The Story of Hungry - A unique look at life through the eyes of a small girl struggling with hunger, and how something as simple as breakfast in the classroom can changer her day, her week — and maybe even her entire future.
Film: A Place at the Table and its trailer>
A Framework for Understanding Poverty By Ruby K. Payne - People in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth--challenges from both obvious and hidden sources. The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunities taken for granted by everyone else.
Updated Aug. 31, 2014
- Popular Child-Poverty Measure Gets Another Look - Education data crunchers are seeking an alternative to the current yardstick-the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price school meals. The need for alternatives and supplements is becoming more urgent, as recent federal rule changes broaden eligibility for the program to include whole communities and changing school structures, such as charters and online schools, mean more students don't eat on campus.
- CDF-Ohio's Important New Report on Rural Poverty - Did you know that many poor rural children go hungry even when surrounded by fertile farmland? This month CDF-Ohio released Health Disparities Are Leaving Ohio's Rural Children Behind, an issue brief that examines the health disparities impacting Ohio's rural children and makes recommendations so Ohio policymakers can better address their needs. We're grateful to CDF-Ohio for putting the spotlight on the often hidden challenges of rural child poverty. Many of the challenges facing children in Ohio are also true for many rural children living in poverty in other states. The health disparities impacting these children need urgent attention and require different solutions than those for urban poor children. Share this important brief to bring more attention to rural children's needs.
- For America's Poorest, Assistance is Lacking - According to Robert Moffitt, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, assistance in the U.S. comes mainly in the form of tax exemptions like the earned income tax credit and family tax credit, and people who don't work aren't eligible for these programs. Traditional welfare, now known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, has decreased to almost nothing. Benefits have been flowing to people who are married, employed, elderly or disabled. In 2004, single parents earning less than half the federal poverty line received 35 percent less in assistance than in 1983. However, the total amount of government spending on public benefits has risen since the 1960s.
- Better Oversight Needed of Federal Program for Homeless Students, GAO Says - A Government Accountability Office report found that the federal program that ensures homeless students have access to the public education system is hampered by limited staff and resources, lack of coordination, and more.
- About 620,000 Military Families Rely on Food Pantries to Meet Basic Needs - A new report found that the nation's food pantries serve 620,000 families with a member in the military-another troubling indication that service members battling against poverty must often rely on the generosity of our charities. The stunning figure, which represents roughly a quarter of the households of military members on active duty, the Reserves or National Guard, shows that even as the United States purports to wind down its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and soldiers return to civilian life, they are resettling into a hostile economic climate, on a precarious landscape of joblessness and debt.
- How the Largest Worker Owned Co-op in the US Lifts People Out of Poverty - New York City is going-in a big way-for worker-owned cooperatives. Inspired by the model of CHCA and prodded by a new network of co-op members and enthusiasts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council allocated $1.2 million to support worker cooperatives in 2015's budget. According to the Democracy at Work Institute, New York's investment in co-ops is the largest by any US city government to date.
- Mother Arrested For Leaving Her Kids In A Park While She Went To A Food Bank - Child care is increasingly expensive, and mothers in the U.S. can't get subsidized help for errands like going to a food bank. Day camps during the summer vacation are also usually out of reach financially. The time it takes to wait in line for a bag of food at a pantry varies greatly and can stretch as long as an hour or more. These arrests may be coming after a cultural shift around when and how children are thought to be capable of being left alone. Slate conducted an unscientific online survey and found that in the 1940s, most children were allowed to walk a mile to five miles from home alone in second or third grade, but by the 1990s parents only allowed middle schoolers to do so. Similarly, children in the 1940s and 50s were allowed to go to a playground alone in second or third grade, but by the 90s they had to wait until fourth or fifth grade.
- How Did the Suburbs Become the Zip Code From Hell? - According to a new report by the Brookings Institution, there are now 16.5 million souls in the suburban United States eking out an existence below the poverty line, compared to only 13.5 million in cities. Poverty is becoming more concentrated, creating a new blot on the landscape: the suburban slum.
- Multigenerational Programs Aim to Break Poverty Cycle - There is rising national interest in multigenerational approaches to reduce poverty and improve student achievement, based on mounting evidence that parents' and children's educational and life trajectories are inextricably linked. More than 60 percent of American children live in families whose highest educational degree is a high school diploma or less, according to a new report by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. Across 13 indicators of education, health, and economic outcomes, gaps yawn among the children of mothers of different education levels, find new reports by the New York City-based Foundation for Child Development and the Washington-based Center for Law and Social Policy.
- New York Posts 'Parents' Bill of Rights' to Safeguard Student Data - New York education officials published a "parents' bill of rights" outlining the use of student data and how that information will be secured on the state education department's website.
- Parent-Student Education Needed for Homeless Families, Studies Say - A strong relationship with parents can make the difference in whether homeless students thrive in spite of their disadvantage. Most homeless-education workers understand this, but experts at a symposium in the American Psychological Association meeting here argued those workers don't often link effective training and support for children and parents dealing with their own trauma. Structural limitations in family homeless shelters may leave a unique opening for schools to help homeless children and parents connect.
- Poverty Has Spread to the Suburbs (And to Suburban Schools) - More Americans are living in poverty in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, a dramatic demographic shift that has occurred since 2000, a new report by the Brookings Institution finds. It's a finding that won't be a surprise to plenty of suburban superintendents, who've seen that residential change reflected in the enrollment makeup of their schools. It found that the overall number of distressed neighborhoods, census tracts with poverty rates of 40 percent or more, has grown by 71.6 percent since 2000. In the same time period, the growth of distressed neighborhoods in the suburbs grew by 150.7 percent.
- Alarming New Poverty Trend in America - The rise of suburban poverty can cause major problems in communities that lack resources for helping the poor: 15 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line in 2012, according to the US Census. "Today, more [poor] residents live in suburbs than in big cities or rural communities, a significant shift compared to 2000, when the urban poor still outnumbered suburban residents living in poverty," notes the report's author Elizabeth Kneebone.
- 3 Facts that Poverty-Deniers Don't Want to Hear - The degree of ignorance about poverty is stunning, even for people far removed from the realities of an average American lifestyle. The Economic Policy Institute stated, "The United States stands out as the country with the highest poverty rate and one of the lowest levels of social expenditure." It's a national disgrace that we allow just a few people to take more of the country's wealth than the millions of productive people who can't find living-wage jobs. Almost two-thirds of all food stamp (SNAP) participants are children, elderly, or disabled. Almost half of black children under the age of six were recently determined to be living in poverty. Almost half of retirees are considered "economically vulnerable," having less than $10,000 in savings in 2012.
- Rent or Tuition? The Growing Student Dilemma - In the 10 years between 2001 and 2011, University of California tuition skyrocketed by 355 percent. Nationally, inflation-adjusted tuition and fees at public universities have increased 27 percent over the past five years (2008 to 2013), according to the College Board.
- Poverty and student achievement by the numbers - States with the highest rates of child poverty - Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Kentucky - all have far lower scores than their wealthier counterparts. In fact, the states with the highest child poverty rates tended to perform lower than the national average. The states with lowest child poverty rates, however, performed at or above the national average.
- We're Arresting Poor Mothers for Our Own Failures - State and federal childcare spending last year fell to the lowest level since 2002. Much of the money available for childcare comes to states through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or today's version of welfare, but TANF hasn't been adjusted for inflation since 1996. It's lost a third of its value since then. The money spent on childcare has declined from a high of $4 billion in 2000 to $2.6 billion in 2013. That means fewer and fewer children get subsidized care. The number of children served by subsidies is at the lowest level since 1998.
- With a Series of Small Bans, Cities Turn Homelessness Into a Crime - Laws that criminalize homelessness are on the rise across the country, according to a new report by an advocacy group. The laws prohibit everything from sleeping in public to loitering and begging. Advocates for the homeless say the laws are making the problem worse.
- SNAP Challenge Shows College Student Healthy Eating Struggles of Low-Income Americans - "In just five days of living on a food stamp budget I gained a better understanding of the realities faced by…low-income people," Moreno concludes. "I also realized that if policymakers want to create more healthful communities, they will have to do much more than just tell people to eat healthy."
- The Major Networks' Evening News Programs Barely Mention Poverty - In a 14-month period (1/1/13-2/28/14), only 23 segments discussing poverty appeared over the 14-month study period. Less than half of the 54 segment sources (22) were people personally affected by poverty. That means, on average, someone affected by poverty appeared on any nightly news show only once every 20 days. Over the same period, the network news shows aired almost four times as many stories, 82, that included the term "billionaire."
- Couple's Quest to Eat Healthy on a Food Stamp Budget - Food Stamped is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the food system in our country, which many citizens find to be broken. The film follows an American couple on their quest to eat healthy and stay on a well-balanced diet while on a food stamp budget. Throughout the film, the filmmaker, Yoav Potash, and his wife, Shira, a nutrition specialist, travel the country discussing the problem amongst the company of U.S. government officials, nutritionists, food organizations and other folks living on a one-dollar-meal plan.
- About a quarter of Americans have no emergency savings, poll finds - The Bankrate.com survey results released Monday also found that two-thirds of respondents said they have less than the recommended six months' worth of readily available savings to cover living expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills and food costs, in case of a lost job or other difficulties.
- Rural Poverty Increasing According to USDA - Two recent USDA reports - Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition and Rural Poverty & Well-being - are reporting that rural poverty is increasing. In 2008, the overall rural poverty rate was 15.1 percent; in 2012, the rate increased to 18.1 percent. Poverty among rural children increased to 26.7 percent in 2012. Urban poverty decreased from 14.9 percent in 2010, while urban child poverty decreased from 21.9 percent in 2010. Deep poverty - having cash income below half of the poverty line - was 12.2 percent in 2012 for rural areas and 9.2 percent in urban areas.
- Broke and Broken? The Psychological Effects of Poverty - For the more than 40 million Americans in poverty, everyday life is a struggle - buying food, going to school, getting a job. And for a great many of them, what most people think of as simple tasks are also difficult. Let's explore the picture of poverty in the U.S. and the psychological and physical toll it takes.
- Food stamp usage in St. Lawrence County increased during recession, but is lower than state average, report says - The proportion of county residents receiving food stamps hit 14.7 percent in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition. The inflation-adjusted median household income in St. Lawrence County in 2011 was $44,131, compared to the New York median of $57,116. Nationally, median household income was $52,306 in 2011. In 2011, residents of the county received a combined $27,690,831 in SNAP benefits.
- What I Realized When I Finally Decided to Sign Up for Food Stamps - The people in that waiting room could have been my neighbors or co-workers. They were people I interact with every day. One of them I recognized as an ex-employee of one of my clients who is now out of business. These were not the dregs of society looking for a handout. These were working people, just like me, who just needed some help. This was a shocking reminder of what has become of the middle class. They say you can't make good decisions if you're hungry. While I never got to that, making decisions when you are worried about going hungry is just as bad.
- America's homeless: The rise of Tent City, USA - The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty documented media accounts of tent cities between 2008 and 2013, and estimated that there are more than 100 tent communities in the United States -- and it says the encampments are on the rise.
- Many Iraq-Afghanistan War Vets Struggle to Find Enough Food: Study - One-quarter of U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have trouble getting enough access to enough food, according to new research. That is drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.
- USA: The World's Newest Third World Nation - Despite our nation's vast wealth, 14.5 percent of U.S. households were "food insecure" as of 2010, and as of 2011, 1.5 million American household were struggling with "extreme poverty." An analysis done recently by the New York Times found that our neighbor to the north, Canada, actually has the wealthiest middle-class in the world, dethroning America after decades at the top of the list.
- America's Essentials Are Getting More Expensive While Its Toys Are Getting Cheap - Jordan Weissmann nails it: "Prices are rising on the very things that are essential for climbing out of poverty." The road to upward mobility is uncertain, but we know the checkpoints. Graduating from college-whose sticker price is actually rising faster than its actual cost-correlates with higher employment and richer earnings. Chronically sick children affect parents' mental health, and chronically sick parents hurt a family's well-being. Single moms and dads who can't afford daycare and wind up spending lots of hours watching after their kids have trouble finishing school or establishing themselves in the workforce. Just as the benefits of wealth create a virtuous cycle of behavior, the challenges of poverty start a vicious circle that continues to spin down through multiple generations.
- RISE Out of Poverty Act - With more than 45 million U.S. citizens living in poverty, it is a social issue that cannot be ignored. n order to better meet the needs of impoverished citizens, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin introduced the RISE (Rewriting to Improve and Secure an Exit) Out of Poverty Act in February 2013. The legislation seeks to amend TANF so as to better accommodate the economic needs of those in poverty.
- In the News: 50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back - Fifty years after the war on poverty began, its anniversary is being observed with academic conferences and ideological sparring - often focused, explicitly or implicitly, on the "culture" of poor urban residents. Almost forgotten is how many ways poverty plays out in America, and how much long-term poverty is a rural problem. Of the 353 most persistently poor counties in the United States - defined by Washington as having had a poverty rate above 20 percent in each of the past three decades - 85 percent are rural. They are clustered in distinct regions: Indian reservations in the West; Hispanic communities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas; a band across the Deep South and along the Mississippi Delta with a majority black population; and Appalachia, largely white, which has supplied some of America's iconic imagery of rural poverty since the Depression-era photos of Walker Evans.
- In the News: Systemic hunger, right here in the North Country - In the North Country, there is an ongoing conversation about poverty, health, and hunger. Over the last five years, 40 percent more people living in St. Lawrence County have signed up for SNAP benefits, or food stamps. Nationwide, one in six Americans doesn't know where the next meal is coming from.
- In the News: Walmart Worker: Why Did the Waltons Get $8 Billion in Subsidies While I Had to Pay Taxes? - Walmart workers deliver a message about spreading the wealth.
- In the News: Hunger grows among college students - A problem known as "food insecurity" - a lack of nutritional food - is not typically associated with U.S. college students. But it is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college.
- In the News: Survey: Nearly 40 Percent Of Americans Can't Come Up With $2,000 For Emergency - Nearly 40 percent of survey participants answered that they weren't "confident" about coming up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose within the next month. The survey also found that almost 60 percent of individuals in the country did not have three months of emergency funds that they could access to cover an emergency.
- In the News: Students to Repay Loans Into Our 50s? - A generation is saddled with the idea that adult life starts in debt, giving rise to an apathy about the politics that make it so. Students currently at university will be repaying their government loans well into their 40s and 50s comes as no surprise.
- In the News: Poverty-related Challenges Sap Instructional Time in High Schools - Poverty-related challenges steal time from high school class periods, leading students at low-income schools to receive an average of half an hour less instruction per day than their higher-income peers.
- In the News: NC colleges and universities add student food pantries - The cost of higher education jumped nearly 540 percent from 1985 to last year, compared with an increase of 286 percent for medical costs and 121 percent of inflation in the Consumer Price Index over the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It's also true, said several people involved with the pantries, that there had long been problems with hunger on campus, even before the recession, but awareness about it has grown.
- In the News: Food Stamps Don't Keep Walmart's Prices Low, They Keep Its Profits High - The same company that brings in the most food stamp dollars in revenue has the most employees using food stamps. A study released last year by staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that a single 300-employee Walmart Supercenter may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to nearly $1.75 million per year.
- In the News: Sixteen and homeless, pt. 2: homeless no more - In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 3,218 homeless students in the greater North Country. 697 of them were in St. Lawrence County.
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