Profile America: War on Poverty


Wednesday, March 16 —  The first salvo in what we’ve come to know as the War on Poverty was fired on this date 52 years ago. Following President Lyndon Johnson’s State of the Union call for tackling poverty in America, the Economic Opportunity Act was introduced and passed by Congress with 11 program components. The landmark legislation was signed into law in August.


The poverty rate in 1965, at the implementation of the programs, was around 16 percent, down from some 22 percent in 1959. The poverty rate continued to fall to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973. The past four decades have seen that rate edge upward. Last September, the Census Bureau reported the official U.S. poverty rate was 14.8 percent, encompassing 46.7 million people.


Sources: U.S. Census Bureau

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