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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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Report to Congress

Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2008

December 19, 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 Responsibili

Providing Paid Employment Opportunities to TANF Participants Engaged in Vocational Education Programs: Examples from Denver, Colorado; Kentucky; and California

December 19, 2008
This practice brief profiles three programs, two statewide and one local, that provide work opportunities to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are participating in vocational education programs.

Providing Unpaid Work Experience Opportunities for TANF Recipients: Examples from Erie County, New York; Montana; and Hamilton County, Ohio

December 19, 2008
This practice brief profiles three work experience programs that engage nearly all work-ready TANF recipients in unpaid work activities, either alone or in conjunction with education and training. Unpaid work experience is designed to mirror regular employment in the paid labor market.

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

November 29, 2008
  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

November 29, 2008
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

November 16, 2008
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

October 14, 2008
  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*

August 14, 2008
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 positive attitu

Measuring Income and Poverty in Four Surveys: an Overview

August 8, 2008
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.