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Poverty & Economic Mobility

ASPE releases the annual U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines, which are used to determine financial eligibility for some Federal programs. Presented here are the poverty lines for every State and the District of Columbia. You will also find extensive resources on poverty estimates, trends, and analysis, plus historical information on poverty and the Guidelines. More broadly, this section also encompasses issues like poverty and income dynamics, and asset building and financial literacy.


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Case Study

Achieving Higher TANF Work Participation Rates: Case Studies from Maryland and Utah

This practice brief profiles the multi-pronged, comprehensive approaches taken by Maryland and Utah to increase their state's work participation rates. Both states have more than doubled their state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work participation rates within a one-year period.
Report to Congress

Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2008

The Welfare Indicators Act of 1994 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare annual reports to Congress on indicators and predictors of welfare dependence.  The 2008 Indicators of Welfare Dependence, the eleventh annual report, provides welfare dependence indicators through 2005, reflecting changes that have taken place since enactment of the Personal Respons

Strategies for Increasing TANF Work Participation Rates: Summary Report

This brief describes a range of strategies states have implemented to achieve higher Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work participation rates. It describes four broad categories of strategies: (1) creating new work opportunities for TANF recipients; (2) administrative strategies; (3) TANF policy changes; and (4) creation of new programs.

Effects of Holding Assets on Social and Economic Outcomes of Families: A Review of Theory and Evidence

  Poor Finances:  Assets and Low-Income Households The Effects of Holding Assets on Social and Economic Outcomes of Families: A Review of Theory and Evidence November 2008 By: Robert Lerman and Signe-Mary McKernan The Urban Institute

Asset Building over the Life Course

This report provides a conceptual framework that describes how asset accumulation unfolds over an individual's lifetime and how the effects of such accumulation can best be understood within the context of the life course.

Refugee Economic Self-Sufficiency: An Exploratory Study of Approaches Used in Office of Refugee Resettlement Programs

The purpose of this exploratory study was to learn what factors and approaches utilized by Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) programs contribute to refugee economic self-sufficiency. The issue of whether these approaches were applicable to mainstream welfare-to-work programs was also addressed.

American Community Survey: New Survey Questions Enable Measurement of Marital Transitions

  ASPE RESEARCH BRIEF American Community Survey: New Survey Questions Enable Measurement of Marital Transitions October 2008 This Research Brief is available on the Internet at:
Fact Sheet

What Challenges Are Boys Facing, and What Opportunities Exist To Address Those Challenges? Fact Sheet: Employment*

Gabriel, a high school junior, enjoys working the concession stand at the local movie theater on Friday and Saturday nights.  He earns a little money for college, hangs out with his friends, and gets to watch movies for free.  He even got a pay raise because of his strong work ethic and posit

Measuring Income and Poverty in Four Surveys: an Overview

Policy makers use national surveys to paint a picture of the U.S. population along a variety of dimensions. If major surveys are equally successful in capturing income, then, for the same time period, populations and income types, consistently defined income estimates and poverty rates across surveys will be highly similar — varying somewhat due to sampling error.