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Policies to Address Poverty in America

By Benjamin H. Harris and Melissa S. Kearney
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One-in-seven adults and one-in-five children in the United States live in poverty. Individuals and families living in poverty not only lack basic, material necessities, but they are also disproportionally afflicted by many social and economic challenges. Some of these challenges include the increased possibility of an unstable home situation, inadequate education opportunities at all levels, and a high chance of crime and victimization.

Given this growing social, economic, and political concern, The Hamilton Project at Brookings asked academic experts to develop policy proposals confronting the various challenges of America’s poorest citizens, and to introduce innovative approaches to addressing poverty. When combined, the scope and impact of these proposals has the potential to vastly improve the lives of the poor. The resulting 14 policy memos are included in The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America. The main areas of focus include promoting early childhood development, supporting disadvantaged youth, building worker skills, and improving safety net and work support.

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