There has been a great deal of debate about poverty in the US over the years. Although this infographic shows that there is a very long way to go to eradicate poverty completely, there has been a decline in poverty rates. Despite the discussions and criticism, it would seem that the US is moving in the right direction.


Poverty rates have fallen from 27.3% in 1959 to 21.1% in 2014. There have been improvements across all demographics, but the most noticeable difference is in the over 64 category. In 2014, 10% of the population was living in poverty compared to 35.2% of over 64s in 1959.


The infographic highlights some of the most influential policies in the fight against poverty. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Social Security Act of 1935 is perhaps the most impactful. This act provided benefits for those in need, targeting the unemployed, over 65s, and vulnerable families. During his presidency, Roosevelt also invested $4 billion in construction, paving the way for better educational, healthcare and public administration facilities.


In 1965, Lyndon Johnson passed amendments to the Social Security Act and created Medicare and Medicaid, healthcare programs, which revolutionized the system. President Johnson also passed the Food Stamp Act in 1964 and awarded grants to elementary and secondary schools to improve education.


In 2012, Social Security lifted 22.1 million Americans out of poverty, and programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefited millions more.


It is believed that these policies have helped to lift 48 million people out of poverty, but there is evidence to suggest that the numbers may be even higher, as the US Census doesn’t take non-cash benefits into account. Examples include tax credits and food stamps.


Infographic Created By Norwich University

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