American Notes: Crossing the Poverty Line

In the 1960s, the war against poverty in America was not won, but there were some notable victories. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures released last week, as of 1969 the number of Americans classified as poor dropped to 24.3 million, down from 39.5 million in 1959. Among both whites and nonwhites, the amount of upward traffic across the poverty line—$3,743 in annual income for a non-farm family of four, in 1969—was enormous. In 1959, 18.1% of white families were classified poor; in 1969, only 9.5%. The proportion of poor non-white...

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