success stories

Statistics from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Director: Father Robert Vitillo
United States Catholic Conference of Bishops
3211 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194

-- The total U.S. poverty rate may have declined slightly over the last few years, but there are still 12 million children living in poverty, and more than ever they are in families with a working single mother.

--- Some 700,000 families headed by single mothers are actually poorer today than their counterparts were in 1995.

--- The number of poor children in families headed by a single parent who works and who receives no income from public assistance increased to 6.7 million in 1999.

--- The results of a new national opinion poll that showed 60 percent of Americans do not currently know anyone who is living in poverty, even though that describes the lives of more than 31 million people in the United States.

--- Among industrialized nations, the United States is second only to Russia in the rate of poverty among children, at 16.2 percent.

--- According to the Census Bureau, poverty is even more prevalent among minority groups, with one in three African-American children and one in four Latino children considered to be living in poverty in 2000.

--- About half the people surveyed said they are at least somewhat concerned about being poor at some point in their life.

--- Among people who are considered low income but are above the poverty line, 71 percent said they worry about becoming poor.

--- Thirty-two percent of participants in the study said lack of education is a cause of poverty, followed by personal laziness or lack of initiative, which was also cited by 25 percent of those surveyed.

--- The nation's economic downturn received more blame than it did last year, with 21 percent saying lack of employment opportunities is a cause of poverty, compared to 8 percent who mentioned it in the poll taken in 2000.

--- When asked who is responsible for responding to the needs of the poor, 49 percent said the government is, while 48 percent said it is everyone's or the general public's responsibility. Thirteen percent said it's the responsibility of the poor themselves; 6 percent said churches are responsible.

The poll cited here was conducted by phone between Dec. 7 and 11, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

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