40% of Americans at Risk of Poverty

Monday, Feb 18, 2019

Mother and Daughter at risk of povertyAccording to Prosperity Now "40% of American households lack a basic level of savings" and could not afford "to live at the poverty level for three months if their income was interrupted." That's a staggering number of families at risk.

In a recent article by Wes Moore, of the NYC nonprofit Robin Hood, he highlights the dilemma that many of us in community action have been addressing for some time; that millions of families and children are at high risk of an unexpected expense, a layoff, a medical emergency or a missed paycheck pushing them into the ranks of poverty. Solutions require partners and commitment to change. We have selected highlights form the article below, you can read the full article by clicking here.

According to comprehensive new data from the Prosperity Now Scorecard, a staggering 40 percent of American households live one missed paycheck away from poverty. That population of proud, hardworking Americans who we used to call the great American middle class are one unexpected expense, one layoff, one medical emergency, one missed paycheck, one government shutdown away from poverty.

For generations, poverty in American has been a persistent plague on our society. What the data and the realities in communities are showing us now is that we're on the verge of it becoming a permanent inescapable reality.


The driving forces behind poverty are numerous, complicated and vary from one case to the next, but there are trends. Wes Moore's organization, Robin Hood has been following the data to see where it leads.

At Robin Hood, for 30 years, we've worked with communities and followed the data to fight poverty. Our Poverty Tracker with Columbia University shows us that of the nearly 2 million people living in poverty in New York City alone, most of them move in and out of poverty over the course of years, unable to permanently move forward. It shows us how hard it is to permanently escape poverty. It shows us that children are stuck in poverty more persistently than adults.

In the richest country in the history of the world in 2019, can we really accept relegating millions of children to a life of poverty, instability, and uncertainty?


Bleak as the situation may sound, there is always hope. Wes Moore and his organization are working towards community solutions just like we are. He concludes saying:

The time we spend every day in resilient communities show us what's possible if we invest in their future. Our work must focus on making success more probable. We don't have all the answers, but we're going to follow the data, partner with everyone we can to find them, and refuse to accept that poverty is permanent.

(click here to read the full article)


We appreciate the focus Mr. Moore places on partnering up with other groups, agencies and community members. No single organization can address this problem alone. The best way to improve your community is to get more of your community involved. At Butte County CAA our mission is to serve as a catalyst to reduce poverty and its symptoms through:

  • Providing quality services
  • Developing resources
  • Collaborating with others
  • Advocating on behalf  of the economically & socially disadvantaged
  • Empowering individuals
  • Improving the conditions in which people live, learn and work


Donate to CAA General Fund