News Release

With Record Number in Poverty; Food Stamp Cuts?


McClatchy reports: “Republicans in the House of Representatives want to cut food stamp funding by $40 billion, despite a government report earlier this month that showed 17.6 million households had trouble putting enough food on the table last year.”

Casey is senior staff attorney with Legal Momentum, “the nation’s oldest legal defense and education fund dedicated to advancing the rights of all women and girls.” He said today: “The poverty report for 2012 just released by the Census Bureau indicates that the poverty rate was 15.0 percent in 2012, the same as in 2011, but well above the 12.3 percent rate in 2006, the year prior to the beginning of the ‘Great Recession.’ The 15 percent rate was the fourth highest in the past 45 years. The 40.9 percent poverty rate for single mother families was tied for the highest since 1997. The number of poor people, 46.5 million, was the highest ever.

“Adult women had a higher poverty rate than adult men in 2012 as they have had in every year since official poverty measurement began in the 1960s. The poverty rate for women was 14.5 percent compared to 11.0 percent for men.”

Legal Momentum just issued a report: “Women’s Poverty in the United States, 2012 -Poverty Rate Remains High, Gender Poverty Gap Persists.

Legal Momentum President Elizabeth Grayer states: “The Census data highlight the serious hardship facing many American families in the current economic crisis. The data indicate a high poverty rate and a continuing gender poverty gap in the United States — facts that underscore the need for a social safety net that is accessible and adequate. Congress must reject the proposals for cuts in Food Stamps as those cuts would increase hunger and hardship. And it is time for Congress to enact sorely needed improvements in the TANF [Temporary Assistance to Needy Families] program that would raise sub-poverty benefit levels and reduce the barriers that prevent eligible families from accessing benefits.”