Resources on the War on Poverty's 50th Anniversary

An unconditional war on poverty was declared by President Johnson 50 years ago, and we have made great strides since then — average incomes among the poorest fifth of Americans have risen significantly, poverty among senior citizens has been cut dramatically, infant mortality has dropped sharply, and severe child malnutrition has largely disappeared.

Programs developed during this war, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), SNAP (food stamps), Medicare, and Medicaid continue to be effective. In 2012, these efforts kept 41 million people, including 9 million children, out of poverty, according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).

Unfortunately, the war has not been unconditional as had been hoped, and too many Americans, particularly children, struggle with the effects of poverty. Programs that offer the most support to poor children, including food stamps and nutrition assistance for women, infants, and children, have faced cuts in recent years.

Find out more about the results of the war on poverty and the challenges remaining by visiting the following organizations' web sites:

Poverty Data Sources

Data on poverty can be found at the U.S. Census. If you have questions about the census data, we would be glad to help answer them.

The New York Times has a U.S. county map with overall poverty rates from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census.

On our website, we have compiled Pennsylvania 2012 poverty estimates (more current than the data used in the New York Times map) for the state's largest counties and metro areas. These figures are one-year estimates from the Census ACS.