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War on Poverty, Part I: National Antipoverty Programs Paving the Way for a Win

Guest Blogger: Yesenia Rojas

In 2014 the Half in Ten campaign released the “The War on Poverty: Then and Now” report that entails the progress we've made as a country with our ongoing mission to save millions of citizens from poverty and what we've done to make  those changes powerful and lasting. 
Bottom line: the United States has not failed; the war on poverty is still being fought and battles are being won.
How? Through policy reforms that resulted in safety net programs which aided our success: Medicare, Medicare, Head Start, Pell Grants, nutrition assistance and expansions to Social Security. Without these programs it is expected that our poverty rate would be doubled today.

President Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union Address 50 years ago launched this "unconditional" war and the data collected reflects progress and hope for the future.

Currently 46.5 million people are under the federal poverty line. If we were to look at the Census Bureau data from previous years, it has shown that ongoing efforts to improve numbers throughout history have worked. A new study from Columbia University shows that with the help of our safety net programs poverty was reduced from 26% during the time of President Johnson's speech to 12% in 2012.
In fact, incredible change resulted only 10 years following the war's announcement; our country's poverty was at a record low of 11.1%.
Yet, as safety net programs prove helpful and successful, the variable in our fight has definitely been a wavering U.S. economy.


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