New Census Data Shows Millions of Americans are Struggling, EITC and Child Tax Credit Make an Impact


September 16th, 2015
Meredith Dodson, RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns

This morning, the Census Bureau released its latest income and poverty data, showing that one in seven Americans and one in five American children still live below the federal poverty line (just over $24,000 for a family of four). The poverty rate in the United States was 14.8 percent in 2014, 46.7 million Americans, not statistically significant than 2013. The child poverty rate in 2014 was 21.1 percent, also not a statistically significant change.

But, we cannot celebrate when almost one in five American children live in poverty. Instead, we must act!

Media outlets across the country will be covering the release of this data, giving us a chance to connect the dots between policy decisions and the struggles of people in our community. This is a chance to urge policymakers to take the first step by saving key provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (CTC) this fall. These are some of the country’s most effective anti-poverty strategies – the Census’s Supplemental Poverty Measure showed these pro-work tax credits helped to move 9.8 million Americans out of poverty in 2014. In addition, the Census Bureau found that SNAP, formerly “Food Stamps,” lifted 4.7 million Americans above the poverty line last year, and 8.8 million fewer Americans are uninsured in 2014 versus 2013. ​Clearly, smart anti-poverty policies can make a difference, but we need to renew the pressure on policymakers to do the right thing. With Congress working on tax legislation RIGHT NOW, let’s use this opportunity to urge policymakers to save key EITC and CTC provisions.

TAKE ACTION: Keep the spotlight on poverty in the U.S. by writing a letter to the editor (you can use our template) to your local papers about poverty and tax credits for working families. Or, make a bigger impact by using our Press Statement and updated Editorial Memo to reach out to editorial writers at your local newspaper urging them to write editorials on poverty and the EITC and CTC. We outline how to do so in our September Action sheet (just be sure to coordinate your outreach with other RESULTS volunteer activists in your area – contact us if you need help). Find contact information for media outlets in your area with our Media Guide at http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/media/. Be sure to send your published pieces to your members of Congress and Congressional candidates!

Also, RESULTS hosted a special Poverty Data Webinar on September 16 to review some of the data that was released by the Census. Click this link to listen to a recording of the live Q&A from that webinar. You can also view the slideshow presentation from the webinar by downloading this pdf.

We must seize this opportunity to make ending poverty in America a priority – and to do so, we need to make sure media attention on poverty is not a one-day affair, and then hold policymakers accountable. Join us!

 

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