Tuesday, March 15th. The Federal government’s first offensive in what we've come to know as the War on Poverty was made on tomorrow’s date in 1964.
Following President Lyndon Johnson’s State of the Union call for tackling poverty in America, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was introduced, and passed by Congress on March 16th. The landmark legislation was signed into law that August. The poverty rate in 1965, at the implementation of the programs, was around 16 percent, down from some 23 percent in 1959. The poverty rate continued to fall to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973.
More recently, the Census Bureau reported the nation’s official poverty rate in 2019 was 12.3 percent, down from 13.1 in 2018.
Profile America is in its 25th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.