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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Campaign Outlines Strategies to Cut Poverty in Half Over Next Decade

October 26, 2011 - Posted by Ron Bigler

Starting the clock on the work of cutting poverty in the United States by half over the next ten years, the Half in Ten campaign today released a new report outlining measurements and strategies to help achieve that goal.

"Restoring Shared Prosperity: Strategies to Cut Poverty and Expand Economic Growth" features a set of indicators that will assess how effectively the U.S. is reducing poverty, creating good jobs, strengthening families, and promoting economic security. Accompanied by an online interactive map, the report also evaluates and ranks each state based on the set of indicators. Texas, for example, with a poverty rate of 17.1 percent, was ranked 41st in 2010.

The indicators tracked for each state, along with the current national figures, are below:

Poverty Rate

Percentage of people in the state who fell below the official poverty line in 2010

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 15.3% (2010)

Disconnected youth

Percentage of young people aged 16-19 who are neither in school nor the workforce

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 9% (2010)

Food Insecurity Rate

Percentage of households unable to acquire enough food to meet the needs of all their members at some point during the year

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 14.5% (2010)

Teen Birth Rate per 1000

Number of births to teenagers (15-19 year olds) per 1000 births in the state in 2008


Unemployment Rate

Percentage of unemployed workers in the state during an average month in 2010

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 9.6% (avg. month 2010)

Without Health Insurance

Percentage of state residents without health insurance coverage

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 16.3% (2010)

Equal Wage Gap

Amount a woman earns for every dollar a man would earn in the same job in 2010

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 78.6¢ (2010)

Foster Care Population per 100,000 children

Number of children in foster care per 100,000 children under age 18 in the state


High School Graduation

High school graduation rate for 2008

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 74.7%

% of Unemployed Receiving UI Benefits

Percentage of unemployed workers in the state receiving unemployment insurance benefits in 2010

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 66.0%

25-34 year-olds with associate's degree or higher

Percentage of young people ages 25-34 in the state with an associate’s degree or higher in 2008

U.S. TOTAL/RATE: 37.5%

Percent without a bank account

Percentage of state residents without savings or checking accounts


The Half in Ten campaign’s effort to reduce poverty has taken on added urgency in the wake of a Great Recession that has led to increased poverty, entrenched unemployment, and heightened economic insecurity for millions of Americans.

Between 2006 and 2010, the poverty rate in the U.S. increased by 2.8 percent, rising from 12.3 percent of the population, or 36.4 million people, to 15.1 percent of the population, or 46.2 million people. Additionally, the Half in Ten campaign reports that:

  • In 2009, the number of families with at least one unemployed member increased to 12 percent, nearly double the 6.3 percent in 2007.
  • In 2004, the median net worth of white households was $134,280 compared with $13,450 for black households, but amid the Great Recession at the end of 2009, the median net worth for white households fell 24 percent to $97,860 while plummeting 83 percent to $2,170 for black households.
  • In 2010, the real median income fell 2.3 percent to $49,445 and 50 million people went without health care coverage.
  • In 2010, 22 percent of America’s children fell into poverty.

The Half in Ten campaign and its partners – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and the Coalition on Human Needs – believe that the U.S. can reverse these trends and lay the foundation for helping more Americans move out of poverty. As Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, said at a Half in Ten event to release the new report, “Poverty is not a moral failing or a natural condition. Nor is it an inevitable consequence of our economy.”

The policy proposals recommended by Half in Ten are grouped under the three broad categories of: creating more good jobs, strengthening families and communities, and promoting family economic security.

  • For the full report, the introduction and summary, and to download individual chapters, click here.
  • Click here to download a fact sheet with each state’s data.
  • For a one-pager summarizing national trends and for advocacy resources, visit the report’s resources page.
  • Click here to see the report’s top 10 findings.
  • Support Half in Ten’s goal to cut poverty in half in 10 years and sign the pledge today.

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