But political rhetoric does not reflect that statistical reality. When most elected officials talk about income, they focus on "middle class" workers or whether or not to tax the rich.
Behind the scenes, however, New York City and the federal government have both undertaken efforts to find new ways to battle this very old problem. Five years ago Mayor Bloomberg inaugurated an anti-poverty push that has focused on pilot programs as it hunted for new weapons in the fight. The Obama administration has launched a place-based approach in which poverty is treated as a unique phenomenon in different geographic areas.
Both approaches have their critics, because both focus on new ideas in an area where existing programs play an unavoidably huge role, and because both operate under budgets that limit their scope. But at least the people leading both efforts are willing to use the "p" word.
Next Tuesday, July 26, the Museum of the City of New York is hosting representatives from both administrations for a detailed talk about the next generation of anti-poverty programs. City Limits is proud to be a co-sponsor of the event. Find out more by clicking here.