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Indiana University White Paper

The Great Recession “officially” began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. A slow recovery is underway, but the severity and extended duration of the downturn have inflicted long-lasting damage to individuals, families, and communities.

This White Paper examines the impact of the Great Recession and its aftermath on poverty in America. The focus of this document is not only the well-being of the poor but the near poor and the “new poor,” the millions of families who are entering poverty because of the Great Recession’s terrible toll of long-term unemployment. The Paper examines the recent trends in poverty, nationally and in the 50 states, in the context of the well-established risk factors for poverty: age, race and ethnicity, family structure, educational attainment, and employment.

The White Paper also examines the performance of America’s “safety net:” the major federal and state programs designed to protect the well-being of low-income Americans. Given the poor fiscal condition of the public sector, we also consider what is likely to happen to funding for the safety net between now and 2017, when the economy is forecasted to reach full employment again. Our principal conclusion is that the well-being of low-income Americans, particularly the working poor, the near poor, and the new poor, are at substantial risk, despite the economic recovery.

Download White Paper

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