50th Anniversary of the “War on Poverty”

Today marks 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered the State of the Union address that is now known as the “War on Poverty” speech. On Jan. 8, 1964, he said:

“Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope–some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity.”

These words still ring true today. The stresses of poverty have a disproportionate impact on children. According to Columbia University’s National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), children represent 24% of the U.S. population but comprise 34% of all people in poverty. That’s more than 16 million children, or about 1 in 5. (For more information on the demographics of children in poverty, this NCCP fact sheet provides a thorough summary.)

To learn more about the War on Poverty from 1968 to the present, check out these resources:

We’ve also covered poverty and its impact on children in past blog posts: