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Advocacy List

Hunger Hurts the Working Poor of Pennsylvania

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. 2012.

  • In Pennsylvania, a single parent earning $10/hour would make $22,000 annually.  The Self Sufficiency Standard in the state for one parent with a pre-school aged child and a school aged child is $43,325.
  • Many families with lower incomes have to make tough choices between spending money on food or on other necessities such as rent, medicine, and transportation.
  • The number of children in poverty decreased by 8.1% when 'income' from programs such as SNAP, WIC, the School Lunch Program, and the Earned Income Tax Credit were taken into account.


The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2012

U.S. Census Bureau, Nov. 2013

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) takes into account extra resources received from programs such as SNAP (food stamps), as well as expenses such as out-of-pocket medical costs. These resources and expenses are not included in the Census Bureau's official poverty calculations.


  • Official measure: 46.97 million (15.1%)
  • SPM: 49.73 million (16.0%)
  • Difference: +2.7 million people in poverty (+0.9%)


  • Official measure: 16.5 million (22.3%)
  • SPM: 13.4 million (18.0%)
  • Difference: -3.2 million children in poverty (-4.3%)


  • Official measure: 3.9 million (9.1%)
  • SPM: 6.4 million (14.8%)                                                
  • Difference: +2.5 million seniors in poverty (+5.8%)


The Pension Factor 2012

Frank Porell, PhD and Diane Oakley. July 2012.

In 2010:

  • The poverty rate of older adults without a defined benefit pension income was 9x higher than those with a pension.
  • Defined benefit pension receipt among older adults resulted in 460,000 fewer households experiencing food insecurity.
  • 9.7% of older adults lived in poverty.  For older adults with no pension income, the rate increases to 15.5%.
  • 24.2% of adults adults were 'near-poor' -- income less than 200% of the poverty level.  For older adults with no pension income, the rate increases to 31.2%

SNAP Benefits Alleviate the Incidence and Intensity of Poverty

Laura Tiehan and Michele Ver Ploeg. USDA Economic Research Service. June 2012.

  • In 2010, 45.8% of all SNAP recipients were children.
  • In 2010, 55.4% of all households receiving SNAP benefits had incomes less than 50% of the poverty level.
  • SNAP benefits helped reduce the number of individuals and households living in poverty, as well as helped decrease the severity of poverty for people.


Doing Without: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans

Wider Opportunities for Women, March 2012.

  • 60% of women over the age of 65 are unable to cover their basic, daily expenses with their income.
  • 61% of Asian women, 74% of African-American women, and 75% of Hispanic women in retirement report having incomes below the 'Elder Economic Security Index.'

Is Poverty a Death Sentence? The Human Cost of Socioeconomic Disparities.

Chairman Bernie Sanders, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, Sep. 13, 2011.

  • Recent research has shown that poverty is the most influential factor contributing to poor health.
  • People with the highest incomes in the U.S. have a life expectancy at least 6.5 years longer than lower and middle-class Americans.


From Poverty, Opportunity: Making the Market Work for Lower Income Families

The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program. 2006.

Lower income Americans have about $655 billion in buying power.  On average, though, low-income Americans pay more for various goods and services such as:

  • Food
  • Interest on loans (for homes, cars, etc.)
  • Auto and home insurance

The report argues that if low-income individuals paid less for goods and services, they would have more money to spend on things that can bring them out of poverty:

  • Paying off debt
  • Saving for a house
  • Putting money in a retirement account
  • Saving to pay tuition costs for higher education