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Aug 16

Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the U.S.? - Looking Back on Two Decades of Data

Co-hosted by the American Enterprise Institute

On August 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act into law. Welfare reform, as it was popularly known, was widely hailed as a public policy success: welfare rolls dropped 60 percent, while poverty rates among single mothers dropped to historic lows.

More recently, however, some observers have asserted that welfare reform actually increased the number of people in the most dire straits. For example, in their book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn Edin and Luke Schaefer, say that after welfare reform, four percent of all families with children subsist on less than $2.00 per person per day, the poverty standard for third world nations.

What accounts for this contrarian reading of the history of welfare reform? Has welfare reform really led to more extreme poverty right here in America? Join leading national experts on poverty and welfare reform for a discussion that will set the record straight.

More About the Speakers

Robert Doar
Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Bruce Meyer
McCormick Foundation Professor, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies

Robert Rector
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, The Heritage Foundation

Hosted By

Jennifer A. Marshall Jennifer A. Marshall

Vice President for the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, and the Joseph C. and Elizabeth A. Anderlik Fellow Read More