In May 2008, three major progressive organizations launched the Half in Ten Campaign–a national advocacy effort aimed at cutting the poverty rate in half by 2018.
Half in Ten and one of its partners, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, have produced a breakout of the latest census data on poverty by Congressional district. This is a great tool for showing Members of Congress how the recession is driving up poverty rates among their constituents.
The data are also a powerful argument for initiatives to address persistent racial, ethnic and gender disparities and the shamefully high rate of child poverty, which now tops 25% in 76 Congressional districts in 27 states from sea to shining sea. Add to these the District of Columbia at 25.7% and Puerto Rico at a shocking 56.2%.
We know now that the poverty rate when Half in Ten set its goal was 13.2%–up by 0.8% from 2007. All the experts warn that the next census will show a still higher rate. Yet Half in Ten believes it goal is achievable if we commit to it and go about rebuilding our economy “in a way that promotes shared progress.”
It’s got what seems to me a sensible, maybe even politically feasible policy agenda to get us moving in the right direction.