The Truth About Poverty Rates

There has been a great deal of debate about the role of politicians and policies and their impact on poverty rates in recent times. The truth is that despite the discussions and criticism, poverty rates in the US have fallen significantly.

As the infographic below shows, the proportion of people living in poverty fell from 27.3% in 1959 to 21.1% in 2014. In the last 40 years, personal income has almost doubled from an average of $17,292 in 1970 to $30,176 in 2014. 

The war on poverty has been an ongoing mission for US presidents throughout the ages. Franklin D. Roosevelt was credited with making a significant impact when introducing the Social Security Act of 1935, and this was followed by a host of developments designed to improve employment prospects, fund construction and innovation and provide relief for those in need. In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson passed Social Security amendments, expanding benefits and launching Medicare and Medicaid and introducing measures, including food stamps, to raise the standard of living.

Poverty rates have declined across all demographics in the last 50 years, with the most significant change in rates among over 65s. 

More recently, continued improvements in Social Security have contributed to more than 21 million Americans being lifted out of poverty, with Medicare one of the main reasons adults are less likely to be out of pocket. At the age of 65, Medicare lowers the risk of experiencing difficulty paying medical bills and having to borrow money to fund treatment by 35%.

Infographic Design By this infographic about declining poverty rates

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