Holistic Health & Wellness

The Impact Of Politics On Poverty

Although I typically choose not to talk much about politics, I believe this is a topic worth discussing. Why? Well, for starters, there are a lot of negative things going on in America. Lots of crazy laws being passed, bashing on the current President, and just too much negativity – and lies.

One of those not-so-true subjects deals with poverty. The subject of poverty provokes fierce debate in the US, with politicians and policies coming under fire. Despite heated discussions over the years, there have been significant improvements in poverty rates.

The Truth About Poverty Rates

The infographic below indicates that rates of poverty have fallen in the last 60 years. In 1959, the poverty rate was 27.3%. In 2014, 21.1% of people were living below the poverty line. There has been a substantial increase in personal incomes since 1970, and policies have undoubtedly had a positive impact.

These are rates least talked about, let alone how past policies put in place helped.

Past Policies, Present Growth

Franklin D. Roosevelt passed the Social Security Act in 1935, paving the way for additional support for low-income families and vulnerable individuals. During his presidency, he also invested more than $4 billion in public construction projects and introduced the Civilian Conservation Corps, which benefited more than 2.5 million men.

In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson passed amendments to the Social Security Act, expanding the range of benefits on offer and establishing Medicare and Medicaid. In 2012, Social Security lifted 22.1 million Americans out of poverty.

Declined Poverty Rates

Poverty rates in families with children fell from 26.9% in 1959 to 20.7% in 2014, while there was a sharp decline in the over 64 group. In 1959, 35.2% of people aged 64 or over lived in poverty, compared to 10% in 2014. 

The infographic also suggests that poverty rates could be lower, as the US Census doesn’t take non-cash benefits, for example, tax credits and food stamps, into account when calculating the proportion of people living below the poverty line. It is estimated that government policies have helped to bring over 48 million out of poverty.


Infographic Designed By Norwich University

Leave a Reply