Created on January 8, 2014
Statement by the President on the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty
Fifty years ago, in January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” and introduced initiatives designed to improve the education, health, skills, jobs, and access to economic resources of those struggling to make ends meet.
The War on Poverty 50 Years Later: A Progress Report
In the decades since, we have made progress in reducing poverty -- but we still have work to do. Today, in a new report, the Council of Economic Advisers presents evidence of the progress made possible by decades of bipartisan efforts to fight poverty by expanding economic opportunity and rewarding hard work.
50 Years Later, Commerce Works to Keep Fighting Poverty
According to the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau , 49.7 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, were in poverty in 2012. Furthermore, a Census report released yesterday  found that 3.5 percent of our population experienced chronic poverty between 2009 and 2011. During that same period of time, nearly one in three Americans lived in poverty for at least two months.
Since the mid-1960s, the Census Bureau has led federal efforts to measure poverty  in the U.S. In 2010, Census developed a supplemental poverty measure  to take into account the effect of government programs on poverty not included in the official poverty measure. Census’ data help federal, local and private sector entities allocate critical resources in communities nationwide.
In addition to Census’ work, Commerce plays several important roles in the administration’s efforts to fight poverty. Our Economic Development Administration  provides grants that support critical infrastructure for job training and business development in economically distressed and underserved communities. Our Minority Business Development Agency  runs a nationwide network of business development centers that work with local minority-owned businesses to help them grow and create jobs.
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