New Census Bureau data shows 1 in 8 Americans still live below the poverty line

Instead of taking food away from people, we should do more to end poverty

Statement from Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, on the release of new data on poverty from the U.S. Census Bureau:

“New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 3.4 million people moved above the poverty line in 2017 thanks to help from SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). This is welcome news, but the data also shows that 1 in 8 people are still living in poverty in this country. A statistic like this should be a jolt to our leaders in Washington. It should spur discussions about smart new policies to help struggling families get ahead. Instead, we’re facing yet another proposal that would make life worse for people living in poverty. Earlier this year, the House passed a farm bill that would take SNAP away from those who are struggling to find work.

Fortunately, the Senate has crafted a bipartisan farm bill that protects SNAP, the cornerstone of our country’s fight against hunger and poverty. As the House and the Senate continue negotiations on the final farm bill, I implore them to think about the ramifications of taking away SNAP from one million households, as the House bill would do. The new Census Bureau data clearly shows that SNAP helps people move above the poverty line. Taking away access to food and introducing harsh new work requirements won’t help anyone find a job, but measures like these will make hunger and poverty even worse.

We should be working to create policies grounded in equity: that means not only expanding and strengthening effective anti-poverty programs like SNAP, but also taking steps to address more expansive issues like the racial wealth divide, tax policy, income inequality, and the affordable housing crisis.

But right now, lawmakers in the House and the Senate must stand together in a bipartisan way – as they have for years – to protect SNAP. Millions of families are counting on them.”