Fifty years after 'war on poverty': Who's poor now? (+video)

Fifty years after the advent of the “war on poverty,” the lives of low-income Americans have improved on many fronts even as the US faces persistent challenges, led by the prevalence of single-parent households. Here are four yardsticks to measure American poverty, then and now.

3. Poverty by race

The poverty rate for African-Americans has fallen since 1964, but African-Americans remain much more likely to be poor than whites.

Where the poverty rate was 12.7 percent for whites in 2012, it was more than twice that for blacks (27.1 percent) and Hispanics (25.6 percent).

In the war on poverty’s early years, though, a stunning 42 percent of African-Americans lived in poverty (as of 1966), while the figure for Hispanics was 22.8 percent (in 1972), by Census measures.

The economic gap is seen in educational opportunities as well as in income. “Among 25- to 34-year-olds in 2013, the share that completed a four-year college degree was 41 percent for whites as compared to 23 percent for African Americans,” Ms. Parrott says in her report.

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