Justin T. Gellerson/New York Times Photo:
Millions of Americans are climbing out of poverty, reported the New York Times yesterday in a front-page story. “Poverty declined among every group,” according to Census data, with African-Americans and Hispanics making the greatest gains.
Over all, 2.9 million more jobs were created from 2014 to 2015, helping millions of unemployed people cross over into the ranks of regular wage earners. Many part-time workers increased the number of hours on the job. Wages, adjusted for inflation, climbed.
The number of employed adults per household explains much of income inequality, writes Mark Perry on Carpe Diem. The Census report, Income and Poverty in the United States, also shows the importance of marriage and education.
There are more than two full-time earners in the average top-quintile household compared to .43 for the lowest quintile in income.
While 62 percent of bottom quintile households had no earners in 2015, that was true for only 3.7 percent of top-quintile homes.
Require welfare recipients to work reduces poverty and improves lives, writes AEI’s Lawrence Mead.
A major cause of poverty is simply that few poor adults, both men and women, work regularly. The welfare reform of the late 1990s caused millions of welfare mothers to leave welfare for work, reducing the rolls by two-thirds and making most of the leavers better off. As work levels among poor mothers soared, poverty among children and minorities plunged to the lowest levels in history.
Work requirements should be extended to food stamps and housing subsidies, he argues. “We should also develop work programs for poor men in connection with child support and criminal justice.“