New Poverty Numbers Show Continued Need for Reform

Sep 20, 2013, 11:29 ET from Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities USA President Calls New Figures "A Wake-Up Call"

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the second year in a row, official government statistics indicate a statistically-insignificant change in the number of Americans living the federal poverty line, leading one of the nation's largest networks of social service providers to call on elected officials to change the status quo.

"The fact that 46.5 Americans still live under the poverty line should be a wake-up call," said Father Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). "These numbers represent real people struggling to make ends meet and create a better life for themselves and their children. As a nation, we are called to do more."

The official poverty index, released by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed 15 percent of Americans live below the federal poverty rate, which is defined as an annual income of $23,283 for a family of four. There were no statistically significant changes in poverty by family type, gender, or race. There was, however, a statistically significant change in the number of people 65 and older. They were the only age group whose poverty rate rose between 2011 and 2012. Also, of note, was the uninsured rate for children in poverty which was higher than the rate for children not in poverty.

"As we approach the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, we need to be developing new methods and tools to assist the poor and vulnerable on their journey to self-sufficiency," said Father Snyder. "This latest report illustrates the need for 21st-century approaches that respond to the needs of the individual, engage all sectors of the economy, and deliver efficient and effective social services to help individuals and families get out of poverty."

The Catholic Charities network continues to be on the forefront of developing innovative approaches to solving the problem of poverty in our country. Last year, Catholic Charities agencies provided services to over 10 million individuals, assisting them on their journey to self-sufficiency.

About Catholic Charities USA 

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA's members provide help and create hope for more than 10 million people a year regardless of their religious, social, or economic background.  To learn more about CCUSA, please visit

SOURCE Catholic Charities USA