United States

Here’s how the safety net has—and hasn’t—reduced poverty in the US

by Brad Plumer Washington Post December 10, 2013

The authors construct a broader definition of poverty and factor in programs like Social Security, food stamps, and unemployment insurance. Based on that data, the fraction of Americans with incomes below the poverty line has dropped from 26 percent in 1967 to 16 percent today....

Dasani family lives in the Auburn Family Residence in the Fort Green neighorhood of New York City, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

Invisible child: Dasani’s homeless life

by Andrea Elliot New York Times December 9, 2013

Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window. On mornings like this, she can see all the way across Brooklyn to the Empire State Building, the first New York skyscraper to reach 100 floors. Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its fac...

Study: US poverty rate decreased over past half-century thanks to safety-net programs

by Zachary A Goldfarb Washington Post December 9, 2013

New research has found that with the help of food stamps and unemployment insurance, the percentage of Americans who are poor has decreased since the 1960s. Above is a scene from Woonsocket, R.I., where a third of the residents receive nutritional assistance....

Obama: Income inequality a defining challenge

by Associated Press Washington Post December 4, 2013

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Push for minimum wage hike led by localities, Democrats

by Mike DeBonis and Reid Wilson Washington Post November 28, 2013

States and municipalities across the country are leading a localized push to raise the minimum wage, driven largely by Democrats, who see an opening to appeal to working-class Americans at a time of growing inequity....

Eduardo Shoy, 58, holds two jobs: a KFC and Pizza Hut deliveryman and a forklift operator. “Tired?” he asked. “I’m too busy to be tired.” Photo: Michael Appleton/New York Times

Life on $7.25 an hour: Older workers are increasingly entering fast-food industry

by Alan Feuer New York Times November 28, 2013

On a recent Friday evening, Eduardo Shoy left work at 6 p.m. Mr. Shoy, a deliveryman for KFC and Pizza Hut, was coming off an eight-hour shift of driving three-cheese pies and crispy chicken fingers, in an automotive blur, to private homes and businesses in central Queens....

John Stewart works at the Philadelphia International Airport escorting passengers in wheelchairs. The job pays $5.25 an hour, plus tips. “I’m glad I don’t have a family,” Stewart said. “Because if I had a family, man, we’d be hit  Photo:Will Figg/Washington Post

Among American workers, poll finds unprecedented anxiety about jobs, economy

by Jim Tankersley and Scott Clement Washington Post November 25, 2013

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Jenner Barrington-Ward says that she has been told, “point-blank to my face, ‘We don’t hire the unemployed.’ ” Photo: Gretchen Ertl/New York Times

Caught in unemployment’s revolving door

by Annie Lowrey New York Times November 16, 2013

On a cold October morning, just after the federal government shutdown came to an end, Jenner Barrington-Ward headed into court in Boston to declare bankruptcy....

Destroying in Order to Build: As the populations of many former industrial cities dwindle, buildings are being razed rather than raised to better position the cities for growth. Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/New York Times

Blighted cities prefer razing to rebuilding. Half of the nation’s 20 largest cities in 1950 have lost at least one-third of their populations

by Timothy Williams New York Times November 12, 2013

BALTIMORE — Shivihah Smith’s East Baltimore neighborhood, where he lives with his mother and grandmother, is disappearing. The block one over is gone. A dozen rowhouses on an adjacent block were removed one afternoon last year. And on the corner a few weeks ago, a pair of houses that were damage...

Too much of too little: A diet fueled by food stamps is making South Texans obese but leaving them hungry

by Eli Saslow Washington Post November 10, 2013

McAllen, Tex. — They were already running late for a doctor’s appointment, but first the Salas family hurried into their kitchen for another breakfast paid for by the federal government. The 4-year-old grabbed a bag of cheddar-flavored potato chips and a granola bar. The 9-year-old filled a bowl...