NEW YORK – Fifty years ago, Michael Harrington's classic exposé The Other America blew open the reality of widespread poverty in the United States, and while it paved the way for policies that have improved the lives of millions of Americans, the problem persists today. Today, Demos and The American Prospect are co-hosting a conference and launching an interactive data visualization to examine why proven solutions to poverty are going unheeded, leaving 46.1 million Americans in poverty in 2010.
This new data visualization, “Tracking American Poverty and Policy,” was unveiled today at “50 Years Since The Other America,” a national, bi-partisan conference on U.S. poverty in the 21st Century, co-hosted by Demos, The American Prospect, the Center on Budget and Public Policy Priorities, and the Georgetown Center on Poverty Inequality and Public Policy. Conference panelists include: Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow Bob Herbert, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, Brookings Senior Fellow Ron Haskins, and Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert Bixby, among others.
Combined with a special issue of The American Prospect on poverty, the conference and data visualization highlight the relationship between American policy trends and poverty by the numbers over the past 50 years. The data for “Tracking American Poverty and Policy” is drawn from Demos’ analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, 1968-2011, using IPUMS-formatted data sets.
"Decades of disinvestment in social programs, long before and throughout the Great Recession, have driven millions of Americans into poverty," said Robert Hiltonsmith Policy Analyst at Demos. "Understanding the demographic trends – whether race, gender, education level, or family make up – helps show us how government, business, and individuals have already successfully raised millions out of poverty and how we could do it for millions more. No matter how you look at it, the conclusion is clear: ‘Today’s poverty is American-Made but we have the tools to fix it.”
To speak with Demos and other poverty experts please see the contact information above.