September 16, 2015, Washington, D.C.—The national poverty rate is virtually unchanged from last year and continues to be too high, even with the steady job growth we have had over the past six years. Census data released today show that 14.8 percent of Americans, or 46.7 million people, lived in poverty in 2014. Child poverty, however, is still shockingly high, at 21.1 percent (15.5 million).

“The big-picture numbers might not be alarming even if they have not changed significantly, but they can be misleading. People of color are still disproportionately affected by poverty,” says Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO of the Center for Global Policy Solutions. “It is particularly alarming that child poverty for African Americans is still very high, at 37.1 percent, and for Latinos is at 31.9 percent. Unless we address the structural reasons for racial economic inequality, future generations and our economy are going to suffer.”

The only bright spot is the decreasing rate of uninsured people due to the Affordable Care Act: 10.4 percent in 2014, which is 2.9 percentage points lower than in the previous year. Still, 11.8 percent of African Americans and 19.9 percent of Latinos are uninsured.

“It is now more clear than ever that the recovery has not helped everybody equally and that the economic policies implemented since the recession have done little to address the struggles faced by low-income families and communities of color. We need to focus our attention on targeted policies that give all Americans the opportunity to overcome poverty and thrive,” added Rockeymoore.

Earlier this year the Center for Global Policy Solutions released “A Policy Agenda to Close the Racial Wealth Gap,” which includes recommendations that can help alleviate poverty and increase wealth. Some of these policies include:

  1. Raising the minimum wage;
  2. Banning barriers to employment for former inmates;
  3. Implementing universal pre-K nationally;
  4. Making the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit expansions permanent;
  5. Increasing the earned income tax credit for non-custodial parents and childless families;
  6. Boosting Social Security for the very old and the very poor, and reinstate benefits for post-secondary students; and
  7. Creating a baby bonds trust program.

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The Center for Global Policy Solutions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, think and action tank dedicated to creating a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive democracy in which everyone has the opportunity to achieve health, wealth, educational, and civic success.