Analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) on households with children whose household income was at or below the SIPP’s household-specific monthly poverty thresholds;
Found a sharp increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty between 1996 and 2011. This increase appears to be concentrated among those groups most affected by the cuts to cash assistance as a result of welfare reform;
Found that the number of households living on $2 or less per person, per day in a given month grew from about 636,000 in 1996 to approximately 1.46 million households in early 2011, an increase of 130%: and
Found particularly strong evidence of SNAP’s positive impact when the program was expanded as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The number of households in extreme poverty appears to have spiked between 2008 and 2011 when only cash income is considered, but remains virtually unchanged if SNAP benefits are considered equivalent to cash.
An estimated 2.8 million children lived in extreme poverty at the beginning of 2011, which is 16% of all children in poverty. When SNAP is factored in, the number is 1.4 million children. The report concludes that the in-kind safety net, which includes housing assistance, is valuable to households with children, but still leaves far too many behind. The authors found that:
“At the beginning of 2011, roughly one-in-five households in extreme poverty utilized a housing subsidy such as section 8 vouchers or public housing units (comparable to the proportion of all households in poverty).”