By Clay

Start Early to Fight Poverty: "One reason the United States has not made more progress against poverty is that our interventions come too late. If there’s one overarching lesson from the past few decades of research about how to break the cycles of poverty in the United States, it’s the power of parenting — and of intervening early, ideally in the first year or two of life or even before a child is born."

A thought provoking article and worthy of much discussion.  The cycle of poverty can be broken (or at least reduced) if we help women focus on simple individual choices like not smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy and getting new parents to read to their children.

Poverty Rate Announcement:  "The poverty rate declined last year for the first time since 2006, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. But at the same time, it said, there was no statistically significant change in the number of poor people or in income for the typical American household.  The report showed significant improvements for children. The poverty rate for children under 18 declined last year for the first time since 2000, the bureau said, and the number of children in poverty fell by 1.4 million, to 14.7 million."

ARPI was watching this announcement closely, and there was some good news--even if there wasn't a statistically significant change in the total number of people living in poverty (which is a staggering 45.3 million people).

Yeah, But What About the Appalachian Southern-Tier?:  Glad you asked.  The poverty rate fell nationwide "[b]ut poverty rates in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama remained above the national average. In Tennessee and Georgia, one of every six residents was in poverty during the most recent 2012-2013 survey by the Census Bureau. The share of persons living in poverty rose to 18.4 percent in Tennessee, up 1.9 percent, and to 16.4 percent in Alabama, but it fell slightly in Georgia to 17.2 percent."

This is why I want to work here--because it is needed!  And in other news Georgia is number 1!  No, this isn't a Todd Gurley reference because the Columbia Curse took care of that, but we lead the nation in highest unemployment rateGov Deal was quick to jump all over that, and nearly went with the full Chewbacca Defense.  Not going to comment on a conspiracy, who knows the BLS may revise the statistics, but I'd rather see some ideas thrown out on how to reduce the level--whatever it truly is.

Also, the number of people in rural areas living in poverty fell to 7.6 million.

Is Rural Poverty Overlooked in America?: Yes, next question.

Social Impact Bond Criticism:  "Confidence in their success, as in the two pre-implementation examples touted by Enterprise, emanates from consultants and intermediaries who have a more or less vested financial interest in their going forward. More credibility would ensue if the advocates for SIBs weren’t so often over-the-top ideological critics of government funding in general and weren’t pitching projects in which they often have financial stakes. When nonpartisan critics such as Juppe and McKay find their technical concerns answered, that might boost the credibility of the unfortunately overhyped tool of Social Impact Bonds. Until then, the arguments for SIBs look and feel unpersuasive."

This hasn't been my personal experience.  I've found folks that would normally fall into the more liberal camp to have more enthusiasm about SIBs than conservatives--but maybe that has changed over the last few months.  Good to see more discussion about SIBs is happening at the federal level.

Here's a good (and brief) analysis of what is working and what is not in the SIB world.

ACA Health Insurance Gaps Hit Rural Areas Hard: "But for now, a quarter of uninsured nonelderly adults in Virginia -- just under 200,000 people -- fall into this coverage gap, according to a 2014 KFF brief. The data doesn’t parse where specifically those people live, but Virginia navigators said they noticed rural areas were hit particularly hard. During the last round of rural outreach, “sometimes, half of the folks [navigators] saw in offices were in [this] gap,” said Deepak Madala, project manager of Enroll Virginia, a subsidiary of the navigator Virginia Poverty Law Center."