Poverty in the USA

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, May, 23, 2008
The conference agreement on the 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements in domestic food assistance programs to help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices. The nutrition title includes more than $10 billion over ten years in increases in these programs — including $7.8 billion for the Food Stamp Program, $1.26 billion for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and $1 billion for the free fresh fruit and vegetable snack program, which is targeted to schools with high shares of low- income families.
SNAP/Food Stamp Historic Trends: 1998-2010 Overall Trends
Food Research & Action Center, 2011
Caseloads dropped through 1998 and 1999 as the economy improved and many states failed to get food stamps to low-income families who had left cash welfare for low-paid work. Caseloads then stabilized and began rising in 2000. Increases in participation since then likely have been driven by improved access to the program in states, including most recently for legal immigrants, by the weakened economy for low-income families, and (in September, October, and November 2005) by hurricanes.

Research suggests that one in three eligible people are not receiving SNAP/Food Stamps benefits. See FRAC’s “Gaps in Coverage” page. Fortunately, tools are available to bring federal SNAP/Food Stamps dollars into families and communities, where each dollar is estimated to produce nearly two dollars in economic activity. See FRAC’s “Countercyclical Section” and FRAC’s Smart Choices in Hard Times (pdf).
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 9, 2011
With tax revenue still declining as a result of the recession and budget reserves largely drained, the vast majority of states have made spending cuts that hurt families and reduce necessary services. These cuts, in turn, have deepened states’ economic problems because families and businesses have less to spend. Federal recovery act dollars and funds raised from tax increases have greatly reduced the extent, severity, and economic impact of these cuts, but only to a point. And federal aid to states is slated to expire well before state revenues have recovered.
Census Bureau Releases New Poverty Data
Food Research & Action Center, September 16, 2010
The Census Bureau reported today that 43.6 million people were living in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008. This is not surprising, given the terrible recession the nation has suffered.

The question is what is the nation going to do about this. There is a danger that one of the first steps will be to increase the extent and depth of poverty by cutting food stamp (SNAP) benefits. To do so would be an outrage.
States Continue to Feel Recession’s Impact
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 17 2011
Three years into states' most severe fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, their finances are showing the clearest signs of recovery to date. States in recent months have seen stronger-than-expected revenue growth.

This is encouraging news, but very large state fiscal problems remain. The recession brought about the largest collapse in state revenues on record, and states are just beginning to recover from that collapse. As of the first quarter of 2011, revenues remained roughly 9 percent below pre-recession levels.
Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB), 2011

2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines Chart
Hunger Profiles Information

Report:Profiles of General Demographic Characteristics 2000 for Arizona counties and cities
The Hunger Report 2010: A Just and Sustainable Recovery
Bread for the World Institute, 2011
This country is going through a time of tremendous crisis—and everyone is anticipating an economic recovery. The 2010 Hunger Report answers the question, recovery to what? It provides a vision for a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

The stock market has rebounded yet hunger and unemployment are at their highest levels in decades, inequality continues to grow and we face an uncertain future that is threatened by climate change. Yet we are at a hopeful moment. We have an unprecedented opportunity during this time to rebuild our economy from the foundations, putting people and our planet at the center of our decisions.

It is time to change history for hungry people –we know it is possible—we have seen it happen—let’s seize the moment and begin by investing in a just and sustainable recovery.
Arizona's Federal Food Programs - State of the State for 2007
Food Research & Action Center, 2007
A profile of the Federal Food Programs in Arizona
Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation: A FRAC Report on Summer Food Programs
Food Research & Action Center, July 2007
FRAC’s annual analysis of participation in the summer nutrition programs underscores the benefits of the Simplified Summer Food Program. Originally developed as a pilot program by Congress in a limited number of states, the Simplified Summer Food Program reduces the administrative barriers that prevent many sites and organizations from participating in the program and from receiving full reimbursement. The dramatic increases in summer food participation in pilot states speak to its success. Over the past six years, the 13 states originally allowed to use the Simplified program have seen their summer numbers climb by 51 percent, while states never added to the pilot dropped by 16.5 percent.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 2007
Poor families in many states face substantial state income tax liability for the 2006 tax year. In 19 of the 42 states that levy income taxes, two-parent families of four with incomes below the federal poverty line are liable for income tax. In 15 of the 42 states, poor single-parent families of three pay income tax. And 29 of these states collect taxes from families of four with incomes just above the poverty line.
Making America Stronger: U.S. Food Stamp Program
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2007
Making America Stronger commemorates the 30th anniversary of the of the reforms achieved by the Food Stamp Act of 1977 by telling the story of how food stamps dramatically reduced the extent of severe hunger in our country, how they continue to help Americans in need, and how this essential program can achieve still more.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 2005
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a block grant created by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as part of a federal effort to “end welfare as we know it.” The TANF block grant replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, which had provided cash welfare to poor families with children since 1935.

Under the TANF structure, the federal government provides a block grant to the states, which use these funds to operate their own programs.

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