The Rise of Extreme Poverty in the United States

H. Luke Shaefer, Kathryn Edin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter shows the rise of extreme poverty and examines how the safety net is—or is not—addressing it. The bottom line is that extreme poverty has grown sharply since welfare reform. And though means-tested public programs have done much to stem the tide, growth in extreme poverty is substantial even after accounting for major federal means-tested transfers. Using the baseline measure for 2011, about 37 percent of the households in extreme poverty were headed by a married couple, and 51 percent were headed by a single female. The prevalence of extreme poverty in the United States may shock many. As of mid-2011, our analyses show that about 1.65 million households with about 3.55 million children were surviving on $2 or less in cash income per person per day in a given month. It is important to consider whether the risk of extreme poverty is borne by groups that, in the United States, have historically been disadvantaged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInequality in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationA Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780429968372
ISBN (Print)9780429499821
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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