"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.
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>
Updated December 10, 2013
- In the News: Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life - There are more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression. This is one of their stories.
- In the News: A Future Rests on a Fragile Foundation - For Dasani, one of New York’s 22,000 homeless children, school is everything — the provider of meals, on-the-spot nursing care, security and substitute parenting.
- In the News: Look at the Stats -- America Resembles a Broken Banana Republic - The only things America is #1 in these days are the number of incarcerated citizens per capita and adult onset diabetes.
- In the News: Study: U.S. poverty rate decreased over past half-century thanks to safety-net programs - Government programs such as food stamps and unemployment insurance have made significant progress in easing the plight of the poor in the half-century since the launch of the war on poverty, according to a major new study. But the nation’s economy has made far less progress lifting people out of poverty without the need for government services. Without taking into account the role of government policy, more Americans — 29 percent — would be in poverty today, compared with 27 percent in 1967.
- In the News: Cuomo names members of Anti-Hunger Task Force - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named a diverse group of two dozen to serve on the new state Anti-Hunger Task Force, which has been handed three primary goals: maximizing federal dollars for the state’s anti-hunger efforts; promoting public-private partnerships; and increasing the participation of New York’s farms in combating hunger while simultaneously stimulating economic activity. Nearly 14% of New York households struggle with hunger, and at least 1 million New York children live in households that do not have regular and consistent access to food. Yet nearly 1 in 4 New Yorkers who are eligible for food stamps do not receive them.
- In the News: The myth of the American Dream - The American Dream is supposed to mean that through hard work and perseverance, even the poorest people can make it to middle class or above. But it's actually harder to move up in America than it is in most other advanced nations.
- In the News: Harvard Study Finds: The Rent Is Too Damn High - If you can’t afford to own, you can rent. But what if you can’t afford to rent, either? Millions of Americans are in precisely that situation, according to a study released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The availability of apartments, especially cheaper ones, hasn’t nearly kept up with demand, and the problem has worsened since the 2007-09 recession, the study says.
- In the News: Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life - There are more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression. This is one of their stories.
- In the News: Amy Goodman: Poverty Wages in the Land of Plenty - The dark secret that the retail giants like Walmart don't want you to know is that many of these workers subsist below the poverty line, and rely on programs like food stamps and Medicaid just to get by.
- In the News: Why franchises are such a huge obstacle to higher wages - Low-wage employers are not very happy. And the most vocal among them are franchises, the affiliates of giant corporations at which protesters have directed their ire. On Thursday, the International Franchising Association and the Chamber of Commerce released a survey of their members on whether they would "make personnel decisions in order to adjust" to a $9 and $15 hourly minimum wage. By a substantial margin, more franchises said they'd have to reduce staff or cut hours.
- In the News: Minimum Wage Was Once Enough To Keep a Family of 3 Out of Poverty - Amid protests across the country over retail and service jobs that pay little better than the minimum wage, it's easy to forget that this income benchmark once meant something slightly different. In the past, a minimum-wage job was actually one that could keep a single parent out of poverty.
- In the News: Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts - A surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by British families, and a doubling of the number of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventative action,” they write.
- In the News: Report: 64% of Florida job openings pay less than living wage - While Florida elected officials tout improving monthly job creation figures, the majority of the state’s job openings pay less than a living wage, the Seattle-based non-profit Alliance For A Just Society reported in its 15th annual Job Gap Study. Nationwide, the number of jobs in occupational categories with median wages above $15 an hour dropped by 4 million from 2009 to 2012, a number masked by an increase of 3.6 million jobs with median wages below $15 an hour, the report said.
- In the News: Low bank wages costing the public millions, report says - Almost a third of the country’s half-million bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance to get by, according to a report due out Wednesday. Researchers say taxpayers are doling out nearly $900 million a year to supplement the wages of bank tellers, which amounts to a public subsidy for multibillion-dollar banks. The workers collect $105 million in food stamps, $250 million through the earned income tax credit and $534 million by way of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center.
- In the News: Life on $7.25 an Hour - Older Workers Are Increasingly Entering Fast-Food Industry
- In the News: On Register’s Other Side, Little to Spend - The struggle of low-income workers, many in retailing, is adding momentum to efforts to increase the federal minimum wage. For retail workers nationwide, who earn a median pay of about $9.60 an hour, or less than $20,000 a year, holiday shopping sprees are most often enjoyed by customers on the opposite side of the counter.
- In the News: Here's Who Earns The Minimum Wage, In 3 Graphs
- In the News: Race and Beyond: Working to Stay Poor - A person making $7.50 an hour—25 percent more than the federal minimum wage, or about $1,200 a month in pre-tax income—gets by only with help from family, friends, or some sort of publicly supported assistance. I call this indentured servitude.
- In the News: Finding Comfort and Food on Lines - It's the time for food lines because the end of the month is near, which for many families means their food stamp allotment has run out and dollars are tight. Scattered throughout the city, like latter-day versions of Depression photos, grandmothers and children, men and women wait hours for a bag of groceries at a food pantry. Many of the hungriest are children and the elderly. And many have jobs whose hours and salaries have been cut.
- In the News: Anti-hunger advocates: Thanks for the bread, but where's our task force? - The advocates are also eager to see Cuomo follow through on a promise from January's State of the State address, when he announced the creation of a Statewide Anti-Hunger Task Force, charged with leveraging the maximum amount of federal dollars for state programs that deal with hunger; boosting the use of New York food products and healthy foods in programs for the poor; and working with private-sector partners to multiply state efforts.
- In the News: Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality - At more than 1,500 of Walmart's 4,000 stores, shoppers will be greeted by Walmart employees handing out leaflets and holding picket signs -- "Walmart: Stop Bullying, Stop Firing, Start Paying" and "We're Drawing a Line at the Poverty Line: $25,000/year" -- protesting the company's abusive labor practices, including poverty-level wages, stingy benefits, and irregular work schedules that make it impossible for their families to make ends meet.
- In the News: How Wall Street Turned America Into Incarceration Nation - Transforming poorer neighborhoods into desirable real estate for the new elites often requires getting rid of the poor: jail becomes the new home for many.
- In the News: Infant-Formula Companies Milk U.S. Food Program - The U.S. is joining a global consensus about the public-health importance of breast milk. But a federal agency with huge sway over infant nutrition still distributes more than half the infant formula sold in the nation. A special investigation of infant formula and WIC.
- In the News: NY food banks to get extra $4.5 million to help families adjust to food stamps cuts - New York will provide an extra $4.5 million to help 2,600 emergency food providers, a move meant to ease recent reductions in the federal food stamps program. Cuts to SNAP -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- decreased food stamps for New Yorkers by $302 million annual. At the same time, the number of emergency meals served throughout the state has grown by 13 percent this year.
- In the News: As Homeless Line Up for Food, Los Angeles Weighs Restrictions - Facing an uproar from homeowners in a county with one of the worst homeless problems in the nation, two members of the City Council have called for the city to ban free meals in public spaces.
- In the News: Medicaid Expansion Faces Major Logistical Challenges Among the Homeless - Housing advocates say they believe that the Medicaid expansion has the potential to reduce rates of homelessness significantly, both by preventing low-income Americans from becoming homeless as a result of illness or medical debt and by helping homeless people become eligible for and remain in housing.
- In the News: Why Poor People's Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense - What we know about poverty is often academic. It's rare to have a poor person actually explain it on their own behalf.
- In the News: The Major Life Regrets of a Stay-at-Home Mom - Consider this a warning to new mothers: Fourteen years ago, I "opted out" to focus on my family. Now I'm broke.
- In the News: Inequality Is (Literally) Killing America - It's no secret that this sort of economic inequality is increasing nationwide; the disparity between America's richest and poorest is the widest it's been since the Roaring Twenties. Less discussed are the gaps in life expectancy that have widened over the past twenty-five years between America's counties, cities and neighborhoods. While the country as a whole has gotten richer and healthier, the poor have gotten poorer, the middle class has shrunk and Americans without high school diplomas have seen their life expectancy slide back to what it was in the 1950s. Economic inequalities manifest not in numbers, but in sick and dying bodies.
- In the News: Minimum Wage in U.S. Fails to Beat Inflation: Chart of the Day - Workers in the U.S. earning the minimum wage are worse off now than they were four decades ago.
- In the News: I Watched My Patients Die of Treatable Diseases Because They Were Poor
- There’s a popular myth that the uninsured—in Texas, that’s 25 percent of us—can always get medical care through emergency rooms.
- In the News: Kids to Skip Meals After Food Stamp Cuts - A map published by Stateline highlights the impact of $5 billion in food stamp cuts across the country.
- In the News: A State-by-State Snapshot of Poverty Among Seniors - The share of seniors living in poverty is higher in every state under the supplemental measure than under the official measure,2 and at least twice as high in 12 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- In the News: Is Walmart's request of associates to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for co-workers proof of low wages? - The strikes against Walmart, which have been staged in the last several weeks across the country, including at stores in California, Florida and Illinois, are focusing on three issues: ensuring that no associate makes less than $25,000 a year, offering employees more full-time work and "ending illegal retaliation" against employees who speak out against pay and working conditions.
- In the News: The Living-in-the-Basement Generation - According to new research by the Social Science Research Council’s Measure of America project, for our nation’s 5.8 million “disconnected youth”—the one in seven Americans between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four who are neither working nor enrolled in school. This cohort, whose numbers were stable for a decade, surged by 800,000 after the Great Recession and includes not only children from poor and minority families but significant numbers of white, middle-class youth as well.
- In the News: Report: No change in NYC poverty rate since 2000 - A new analysis by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg finds the city's poverty rate has held steady since 2000, the only large U.S. city not to see a spike in the statistic. Nationwide, the poverty rate as a whole increased by 28 percent during the period.
- In the News: Enrollment in SNAP Does Not Substantially Improve Food Security, Dietary Quality - In the past, SNAP has been shown to reduce poverty among the poorest Americans and generate economic activity. However, according to a new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, SNAP benefits alone may not be enough to provide its beneficiaries with the long-term food security or dietary quality they need.
- In the News: Caught in a Revolving Door of Unemployment - The long-term jobless, after all, tend to be in poorer health, and to have higher rates of suicide and strained family relations. Even the children of the long-term unemployed see lower earnings down the road. The consequences are grave for the country, too: lost production, increased social spending, decreased tax revenue and slower growth. Policy makers and academics are now asking whether an improving economy might absorb those workers in time to prevent long-term economic damage.
- In the News: Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry - Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollments in America's major public benefits programs are
from working families. But many of them work in jobs that pay wages so low that their paychecks do not generate enough income to provide for life's basic necessities.
- In the News: Educate the whole child - The latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses a new analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal study to offer three broad policy recommendations:
- support parents so they can effectively care and provide for their children;
- increase access to high-quality birth-through-age-8 programs, beginning with investments that target low-income children; and
- develop comprehensive, integrated programs and data systems to address all aspects of children's development and to support their transition to elementary school.
- In the News: Poverty level doesn't budge: 50 million and counting - The poverty rate hasn't budged over the past two years, as nearly 50 million Americans, or 16% of the population, lived in poverty in 2012, according to the special report.
- In the News: Schools Still See Surges in Homeless Students - A new report finds that 40 states saw increases in the number of homeless students in the 2011-12 school year—some by 20 percent or more. If added together, homeless students now would make up the largest school district in the country—at nearly 1.17 million, considerably more than the entire student population of New York City public schools. Their numbers have grown 24 percent in the last three years, and 10 percent in the last year alone, according to a new federal analysis released by the National Center for Homeless Education, part of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
- In the News: Poverty Is America's #1 Education Problem - We know that American public school students from wealthy districts generate some of the best test scores in the world. This proves that the education system's problems are not universal — the crisis is isolated primarily in the parts of the system that operate in high poverty areas. It also proves that while the structure of the traditional public school system is hardly perfect, it is not the big problem in America's K-12 education system. If it was the problem, then traditional public schools in rich neighborhoods would not perform as well as they do.
- In the News: Three-quarters of Americans want to up minimum wage - Three-fourths of Americans support increasing the minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $9 per hour, according to a new Gallup poll. The White House announced last week that President Obama supports a bill from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) that would increase the minimum wage, incrementally, to $10.10 per hour.
- In the News: Wage Theft Outstrips Bank, Gas Station and Convenience Store Robberies - America's workers face a crime epidemic - one in which the criminals are rarely even made to pay back what they've stolen. HREF="http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/287-124/20353-how-is-washington-still-not-talking-about-poverty">Charles Pierce: How Is Washington Still Not Talking About Poverty? - "I ask this in all seriousness - when was the last time the president gave a speech about poverty?"
- In the News: Guns but No Butter - The Right's war on the poor rages on, driven in part by the belief that racial and ethnic minorities are getting much of the help. Yet, as food stamps are slashed, Congress lavishes money on military projects that are judged wasteful or useless.
- In the News: Economists, meet the poor - The middle class tried to cope with falling wages over the last few decades first by sending women out to work and by having smaller families.
- In the News: Food for Thought: New Poverty Data Underscore Effectiveness of Nutrition Assistance as Congress Considers Cuts to Food Aid - Released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2012 Supplemental Poverty Measure data provide a more comprehensive picture of poverty than the traditional measure by taking into account factors such as work expenses and medical costs that can push families into poverty. The data also provide crucial information on the effectiveness of work and income supports such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), and the National School Lunch Program, both of which help lift families above the poverty line. Unlike the traditional poverty rate, the supplemental measure also takes geographic location into account; as a result, states with higher costs of living often see higher poverty rates than under the traditional measure.
- In the News: One Million K-12 Students Are Homeless - The Department of Education released its latest report on homeless students last month and the numbers are startling. More than 1.2 million K–12 students for the 2011-12 school year were homeless. This staggering number is considered underreported, since many kids take great measures to hide their homelessness due to embarrassment, and parents do their best to stay under the radar for fear of losing their children.
- In the News: Profiting from the Poor: Outsourcing Social Services Puts Most Vulnerable at Risk - Outsourcing aid for people can’t work. It’s designed to make a profit.
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