New Census Poverty Data Shows We Must Do More, Time to Create Media Momentum!

Meredith Dodson, Director of US Poverty Campaigns
September 16, 2014

This morning, the Census Bureau released its latest income and poverty data, showing that the poverty rate in the United States was 14.5 percent in 2013, down from 15.0 percent in 2012. 45.3 million Americans were living in poverty in 2013, not statistically significant than the 46.4 million reported in 2012. The child poverty rate in 2013 was 19.9 percent, down from 21.8 percent in 2012, and the first time since 2000 that the child poverty rate declined.

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 and Congressional candidates to make ending poverty in America a top priority. Specifically, important improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (CTC) -- some of the country’s most effective anti-poverty strategies – are set to expire if Congress doesn’t act. As we head into elections, what our elected officials do – or don’t do – in Washington has real consequences for families back home. We can use this opportunity to urge policymakers to support specific tax policies that protect and expand the EITC and CTC.

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 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!

AND, A SPECIAL INVITATION: To help you understand the new poverty data, RESULTS will host a 2013 Poverty Data Webinar TONIGHT (September 16) at 8:00 pm ET. We’ll also talk about how to use the information with local editorial writers and what to expect from future data releases. Register for the webinar at: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1028550. For audio, dial (201) 479-4595, meeting code 25845194 and download the slides (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!

To learn more about RESULTS and our work to end poverty in America and around the world, visit us at www.results.org