Spotlight Exclusives

Northwest Area Foundation۪s Annual Poverty Poll Shows Americans Hurting from Recession and Want More Government Action

Posted on

Despite increasing signs that the economic downturn is ending, a new poll from the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) finds that 27 percent of Americans have had trouble making ends meet and paying for basic necessities, such as their mortgage, rent and heating bills. The poll underscores the far-reaching effects of the recession by looking beyond Wall Street and examining the impact of the economic crisis on American families. Among the results, the poll finds 53 percent of Americans have reduced their spending for food, while 44 percent have cut back on saving for retirement.

The findings also show that most Americans have a different perception from the federal government of what it takes to make a sufficient living. For example, more than 68 percent of Americans said a family of four needs $40,000 a year to stay above waternearly double the official poverty threshold of $22,050.

And with times being tough, Americans want to see a difference in government policy and are looking to their elected officials for more action. The poll finds most Americans (51 percent) think the government isn۪t doing enough to help. As lawmakers continue to debate health care reform legislation, almost a third (32 percent) said they have had trouble paying for medical treatment.

Although Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently said that the recession is “very likely over,” these results indicate that many Americans will remain anxious about their financial security and will continue to call for action from federal and state policymakers.

Posted by Mike and Shelley


Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn۪t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and its impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

« Back to Spotlight Exclusives