Helpful Resources on Poverty in the U.S.

The best strategies to close the economic gap rely on sound information to be valid and credible. But with programs to run and clients to serve, who has time to scour the web in search of data? Emerge Solutions is dedicated to helping you help people move out of poverty. For that reason, we now put information that you may find helpful right at your fingertips. Each quarter, we highlight a few information sources in the space below. To download our full catalog, click here. If you have information resources you’ve found valuable to add to our list, contact us.

Featured Resources

The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

Data, this site has data: And it’s data you can customize yourself. The Poverty and Inequality Database, for example, is a simple-to-use graphing utility that enables you to explore changes in poverty and inequality over time and build your own customized graphs and tables. More than 1,500 time series are available, and the data are updated regularly. Looking for the Percent of Poor Children Without Health Insurance, or the Percent of Families in Poverty? You can find it here. Also Expenditures per Capita on programs such as Medicare or AFDC/TANF, the disparity in poverty rate between those born in Latin America and native Americans, and much, much more. You’ll have to create an account to access the database feature, but it’s a simple process.

There’s also up-to-the-minute research, sponsored by Stanford, that’s designed to measure and explain trends in poverty, inequality and labor market outcomes. Research focuses on 15 key areas, including Discrimination and Poverty, Income and Wealth, Incarceration, and Social Mobility.

Also of interest: books you can order, multimedia you can download, and a semiannual magazine called ”Pathways” you can subscribe to at no cost.

One link we liked: The site’s Poverty and Inequality News page links to an organization called Confronting Poverty that provides resources you can use to educate your community on poverty and inequality in America. These include a Poverty Risk Calculator to calculate an individual’s chances of becoming poor, a discussion guide to further understanding and stimulate discussion, and a collection of books, articles and papers dealing with aspects of poverty and inequality in America.

Looking for more information? The site also offers America’s Poverty Course, a free course that features insights from top scholars to explain why there is so much inequality and poverty in America, and how they might be reduced.



The State of Working America, Economic Policy Institute

If you’re looking for a site that will make the case for growing inequality, this site is for you.

The Economic Policy Institute is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.” Consistent with its belief that “every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care and retirement security,” its website is a treasure-trove of data focusing on the economic status of working America.

One fascinating – almost addictive – tool on the site: an interactive chart that shows who gains when income grows. The sample data below make a compelling case for the increasing concentration of wealth among the richest 10 percent at the expense of the bottom 90 percent:

  • Between 1968 and 1973, average income increased $2,374. The richest 10 percent got six percent of the growth, while the bottom 90 percent shared 94 percent of the growth.
  • Between 2003 and 2008, average income increased $2,688. The richest 10 percent got all the growth, while income for the bottom 90 percent declined.


If you’re interested in the detail behind these startling facts, you can turn to the centerpiece of the site, the  full text of EPI’s 2012 report, “The State of Working America, 12th Edition.” Its key finding: Low- and middle-income workers have fallen behind over the last three decades, a statement supported by data in downloadable charts on income, mobility, wages, jobs, wealth and poverty – all disaggregated every way imaginable.

For more current data, the website’s Trends section offers annual analyses of Bureau of Labor Statistics’ economic indicators: national and state employment reports, GDP, job openings and labor turnover, family income data (income and poverty), and the social and economic supplement report (health insurance coverage). The July 24, 2017 analysis of family income data, for example, finds that “another year of Congressional inaction has further eroded the federal minimum wage.”

A Fact Sheet section provides key findings on women, young workers, African Americans, Latinos, inequality, poverty and other topics. The fact sheets provide quick, compelling overviews of the status of these topics ideal for sharing with community members.

If you’re interested in the data on this site, you may also like a companion site,, where you’ll find summaries of the latest research, analyses of how current events and policy decisions will impact workers, and more.