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Understanding the decline in poverty will help us continue the decline

Clinical Trends: “The past quarter century witnessed an unprecedented decline in child poverty rates. In 1993, the initial year of this decline, more than one in four children in the United States lived in families whose economic resources—including household income and government benefits—were below the federal government’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) threshold. Twenty-six years later, roughly one in 10 children lived in families whose economic resources were below the threshold. This is an astounding decline in the child poverty rate, which has seen child poverty reduced by more than half (59%). The magnitude of this decline in child poverty is unequaled in the history of poverty measurement in the United States. What led to this remarkable decline in child poverty? And did all subgroups of children experience similar declines? We set out to answer these questions, to understand the constellation of influences that led to this decline, with the hope that what we learned would help policymakers sustain—and accelerate—progress. This executive summary encapsulates the report’s main findings and policy recommendations.”

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