January 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the “War on Poverty.” Launched by President Johnson in 1964, the “War on Poverty” introduced key programs that still exist today, such as food stamps (now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Head Start, Medicare and Medicaid. Though these programs have had a positive impact and improved outcomes for those in poverty, more than 46.5 million people remain in poverty, according to 2012 Census data.
On January 8, 2014, The National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the Russell Sage Foundation, and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “War on Poverty” and foster conversation about the challenges that remain. The event – Legacies of the War on Poverty & Lessons for the Future - will offer diverse perspectives on the effects of anti-poverty policies in the U.S. in areas such as educational attainment, employment, earnings and living standards, and health over the past five decades and in the years to come. Using research highlighted in the new book, Legacies of the War on Poverty (Russell Sage Foundation, September 2013), a panel that includes the book’s editors, as well as commentators from across the political spectrum, will address policies that grew out of the War on Poverty, as well as the gaps that exist as we continue to fight poverty and promote opportunity throughout the nation.