Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on income and poverty in the United States. The nation’s poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent in 2016 – nearly returning to the 2007 rate – and median household income increased by 3.2 percent from the previous year.
While this news is encouraging, we still have a long way to go. This recovery “belies the substantial economic ground lost by millions of Americans in the recession and preceding years,” as noted by the Joint Economic Committee. Inequality remains high, and racial disparities in household earnings are wide.
We must keep children and families at the center of our policies. To build strong families, we must help them break free from the traps of poverty and build long-term economic success. Investing in children and families yields major returns, including safer communities, a more educated workforce, and a stable economy.
At Ascend, we remain committed to articulating and advancing a concrete agenda for children and families that leaders can embrace at the community, state, and national levels. Our work with leaders across the country through the Ascend Fellowship and Ascend Network has led to breakthrough ideas to build economic security, educational success, and health and well-being of families with low incomes.
A drop in the poverty is welcome news – but we want to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty for good. Stay tuned for more exciting ideas from leaders like our new Morgridge Innovator in Residence, Roxane White, and check out our resources – like the Children and Families at the Center report – to find new tools to fight poverty in your community and ensure that all children and families reach their full potential.