Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage: A Meaningful Investment

Raise the Minimum Wage (Photo credit: CT Senate Democrats)

There’s a lot of talk about increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016 – including its impact:

Approximately 16.5 million low-wage workers would directly benefit from the proposed increase Roughly 900,000 people living below the poverty line would move above the poverty threshold Both low-and-middle-income families’ incomes are projected to rise, 2.8% for the poorest families to .4% for middle-income families Employment would be reduced by about 500,000, or .3% of total employment Wealthy families with an average income of $180,000 can expect a .4%, or …read more

The Toll of Persistent Poverty

If your total income is deemed insufficient to purchase basic food, shelter, clothing and essential services, then you would be classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as “impoverished” – and you would not be alone.

Approximately 11% of counties in America are defined as “persistently poor” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (ERS), meaning that over 20% of their population has been living in poverty for the past 30 years. Over 85% of these persistently poor counties are regionally concentrated in the South. In these high-poverty counties, ERS reports that three quarters of the poor are …read more

Poverty Brain Drain

In American society, we have certain negative associations linked with our poorest citizens. A few sentiments that I’ve heard people say out loud:

“If they try harder, they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps” “No one deserves to live off of welfare” “If I could get out of my bad situation, they can too.”

Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard University explains that there is a blame-the-victim mentality, where many Americans believe that poor people continue to be poor because they are lazy, unmotivated or just not that sharp.

In reality, just the opposite is true – poverty saps brainpower. …read more

New Data on Poverty, Same Old Problems?

English: Income inequality, United States, 1979-2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Last week the Census Bureau released the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS), the source of official national poverty estimates for 2012. This treasure trove of data lets the public explore a plethora of statistical measures of poverty at local, regional and national levels. But does this new data reveal anything we didn’t already know about poverty? Or are we faced with the same old problems.

Following is a list of some quick takeaways from the new Census Bureau data:

For the 11th …read more

Poverty a Risk Factor for HIV?

The correlation between poverty and an increased risk for contracting HIV/AIDS has recently been substantiated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In a recent study, it was shown that ‘about one in every 50 heterosexual Americans living in poorer urban neighborhoods is infected with HIV’. This is about 5 times the infection rate of the general population.

This study is particularly relevant as the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of Maryland (DHMH) estimated that the Baltimore City-Towson area ranked as the metropolitan area with the 4th highest rate of adults living with HIV infection in the U.S. in …read more