Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Analysis Evaluates States’ Progress in Cutting Poverty, Increasing Opportunity for American Families
Press Release

RELEASE: New CAP Analysis Evaluates States’ Progress in Cutting Poverty, Increasing Opportunity for American Families

Washington, D.C. — Policy matters when it comes to reducing poverty and increasing opportunity, according to a new state-level analysis released today by the Center for American Progress. Covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the annual “State of the States” report tracks 15 key indicators that address poverty and opportunity, such as income inequality, unemployment, and affordable housing. The report ranks states according to how successfully they are reducing poverty and inequality, improving the quality of jobs and education, promoting family stability and strength, and ensuring family economic security.

“State of the States” includes analysis of the good, the bad, and the ugly of recent state-specific policy actions related to each indicator, highlighting examples of states where effective and innovative policies are at work, as well as places where policies are falling short. States such as California, Virginia, and Illinois took critical steps to strengthen economic security and opportunity for working families, while other states—such as Texas and Wisconsin—enacted policies that put the American dream even further out of reach for their residents.

“This report underscores that policy matters when it comes to addressing poverty and improving economic opportunity,” said Rachel West, Associate Director of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at CAP. “State policymakers have a host of tools at their disposal to bring about change that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of American families and can learn from what their peers across the country are doing.”

Data and fact sheets:

Resources from the “States of the States” analysis are available in a number of different formats:

  • “State of the States” report
  • Individual state fact sheets are included in the report, beginning on page 35
  • Raw data for each indicator (available by request)

Researchers used government data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Labor, and other sources to conduct their analysis. The 15 indicators used in the report are poverty rate, child poverty rate, income inequality ratio, high school graduation rate, higher education attainment rate, disconnected youth rate, unemployment rate, gender wage gap, children living apart from parents, teen birth rate, health insurance coverage, food insecurity rate, unemployment insurance coverage, affordable and available housing, and savings and assets.

Read the 2015 State of the States report, “Poverty and Opportunity in the States: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” by Rachel West and Jackie Odum online here.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at [email protected] or 202.481.8151.