FAMILY ECONOMIC SECURITY


The center works to identify and define the issues facing Texas' large low-income population. Whether it's documenting the actual amount of money it takes to support families' basic needs in every metropolitan area in Texas, or chronicling the real compromises working families make in order to survive, the center provides the data and the stories behind low- and moderate-income Texans.

Recent Family Economic Security Publications

Poverty and Uninsured Rates Remain High in Every Region of Texas (09/20/2012)

According to new Census Bureau data released today, poverty remained stubbornly high in every region of Texas last year, showing the continuing pain of the recession and underscoring the need for Texans to do more to protect this vulnerable population.

Access to Healthy and Affordable Food is Critical to Good Nutrition (03/19/2012)

The ability to afford a nutritious diet and get the right amount of exercise"the two factors critical to maintain a healthy weight"is out of reach for many Texans living in low-income communities. In both urban and rural neighborhoods, a healthy diet may be hard to obtain due to a lack of supermarkets and other retailers of fresh, affordable food. And, many low-income neighborhoods offer inadequate opportunities for safe exercise, with community recreation areas on the decline. These factors are contributing to the alarming decline in the nutritional health of Texans and rising obesity rates"problems with significant health consequences and a hefty price tag for the state of Texas.

Statement: McCown Rates PolitiFact PANTS ON FIRE for UI Column (12/19/2011)

Center for Public Policy Priorities Executive Director F. Scott McCown made the following comments on the Austin American Statesman’s PolitiFact:

“In a post on December 15, and again in today’s newspaper, the Austin American Statesman’s PolitiFact labeled ‘Mostly False’ a point made by U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett that is supported by mainstream economists, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. To that we say, PANTS ON FIRE.

Press Release: New Report Calls on Congress to Restore and Reform TANF Block Grant Funding to Help Children in Poverty; Without Restoration Texas Stands to Lose $52.7 Million (12/8/2011)

(AUSTIN, Texas) ─ Today, First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization, released a report highlighting the enormous and growing gulf in funding between states to help children in poverty that is the result of flaws in the design of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The report, “TANF Supplemental Grants: Reforming and Restoring Support for Children Who Need it Most,” calls on Congress to fix these flaws and restore funding for the TANF Supplemental Grants. The annual supplemental grants provide additional TANF funding for 17 states"including $52.7 million for Texas"that have historically low spending per child in poverty.

Texas Poverty 101 (11/27/2011)

The term poverty is generally used to describe a condition of economic hardship, but it has a technical use as well: to define a specific low-income level for various family sizes. Many social services providers in Texas use this technical measure of poverty to determine eligibility for their programs. This brief report describes the official federal poverty measure, how it is used, and the extent of poverty in Texas. Shortcomings of this methodology and alternative measures of economic hardship are also discussed.

Statement: Census Bureau Releases Supplemental Poverty Measure for U.S. (11/7/2011)

The Census Bureau released new national-level poverty data today. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) is a “work in progress” experimental measure intended to provides a more complete picture of what contributes to poverty by attempting to correct for long-argued limitations of the Official Poverty Measure. The Supplemental Poverty Measure differs from the Official Poverty Measure in many ways, such as including a broader range of expenses necessary to make ends meet (e.g., food, shelter, medical expenses, payroll taxes) and accounting for a broader range of resources such as income from tax credits and federal in-kind benefits (e.g., food stamps and housing subsidies).

Congress Threatens to Cut TANF Funding While Need Rises (09/23/2011)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is an important federal program designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency.

Nearly 4.4 million Texans live in poverty. At 17.9 percent, Texas’ poverty rate is the 8th highest among the 50 states. Children in Texas are hit particularly hard: 25.7 percent, or more than one out of four children, are living below the poverty line.

While TANF caseloads are projected to increase 7.6 percent from state fiscal year 2011 to 2013, federal funding for TANF remains stagnant and threatens to decrease.

New Census Data Show Texas' Uninsured Rate Tops Nation (09/13/2011)

The September 13 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey shows that in 2010, Texas remained the state with the highest uninsured rate in the nation at 24.6 percent. The total number of uninsured Texans is 6.2 million people, roughly 250,000 fewer than in 2009.

Children continued to lose coverage through their parents’ job-based insurance. A significant positive note for Texas was the decline for a second consecutive year in the number and percent of uninsured children. This improvement is largely due to more children signing up for Medicaid and CHIP’s public insurance (which more than made up for the loss in job-based coverage), showing the essential role of these programs in protecting children during economic hard times.

Get the full story in the links below.

Under Attack: Texas' Middle Class and the Opportunity Crisis (08/19/2011)

(AUSTIN, Texas) " The American Dream means working hard to learn, earn, save, and build assets so that our families are financially secure. These opportunities are in short supply in Texas. As today’s new jobs numbers show, Texas’ unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent, marking the 23rd month the state unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent, which ties the modern-day stretch set in the wake of the 1980s oil and real estate bust (Feb. 1986-Dec. 1987). With the state’s jobless rate higher than the past two recessions, many more Texans are experiencing sharp losses in their family income. A new report released today titled, “Under Attack: Texas’ Middle Class and the Job Crisis" suggests that stagnant incomes, a lack of good-paying jobs, and a lack of health insurance are the real issues that are crippling Texas’ middle class.

The report, co-published by CPPP and national policy center Demos, examines how stagnant wages, falling union participation, the lack of good jobs and health benefits, and the rising cost of a college education are all squeezing the Texas’ middle class.

CPPP Applauds Bipartisan Effort to Reform Payday and Auto Title Lending (04/21/2011)

Over the past several years, unregulated and high-cost, short-term lending has taken a toll on Texas consumers and communities. Without state oversight, Texas consumers do not have basic protections against abusive lending practices or a way to escape the cycle of debt which traps Texans with unlimited fees. The 82nd Legislature has a unique opportunity to address these problems by enacting House Bill (HB) 2592, 2593, and 2594.

OpportunityTexas: Learn. Earn. Save. (12/9/2010)

Texas faces numerous challenges but also has abundant opportunities to build the middle class and increase prosperity. Unfortunately, too many Texans are on the sideline, lacking access to opportunities to learn, earn, and save to secure a more prosperous future for themselves and their families.

To create jobs, increase income, and promote savings, Texas must develop and expand programs and policies to ensure greater prosperity for all Texans.

Metro-Area Census Data Show More Poor and Uninsured in Texas (09/28/2010)

The 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show more Texans are below the poverty line and lack health insurance compared to 2008. Most of Texas’ metro area rates exceed the U.S. average. Texas again had the nation’s highest statewide uninsured rate, and some localities far exceeded the statewide rate. Texas entered the recession later than the rest of the nation and experienced low rates of unemployment through most of 2008. These new data for 2009 reflect the full impact of the recession on Texas.

Uninsured, Poverty on the Rise in Texas in 2009 (09/16/2010)

The year 2009 definitively shows Texas has the most to gain from the health reform law, as Texas remained the state with the highest uninsured rate in the nation at 26.1 percent, or 6.4 million uninsured people, new Census Bureau data show.

The Bureau also released preliminary state-level data showing that poverty rose substantially in Texas, with 428,000 new Texans joining the ranks of the poor from 2008 to 2009; the state's poverty rate rose to 17.3 percent from 15.9 percent.

A Cut to Child Support Funding Would Jeopardize Successful Employment Programs for Noncustodial Parents (09/13/2010)

As the U.S. Congress returns to work today from their Labor Day recess, members must take action on Senate Bill (SB) 1859 to further their commitment to strengthening American families.

How Health Reform Will Help Our Economy (02/25/2010)

Passing health reform isn’t just the right thing to do because it will cover many of the uninsured; it will also create tremendous economic benefits for Texas families and small businesses. Health reform makes health insurance coverage more secure, 1) reducing bankruptcies caused by medical bills, 2) allowing entrepreneurs to start new ventures without fear that leaving a current job will mean losing health coverage, and 3) letting small firms operate without providing health benefits while ensuring that their employees still have access to high-quality affordable coverage. Health reform also slows the growth in health care costs, 1) reducing the federal deficit, 2) shoring up Medicare, and 3) allowing employers to increase wages, hire new employees or make other investments in their business with money that would otherwise be eaten up by skyrocketing health insurance premiums. This Policy Page examines the many economic benefits of health reform. For an overview of provisions in the Senate health reform bill, see at the recent CPPP publication What’s in the Health Reform Bills?

Hard Times for Food Hardship in U.S., Texas (02/1/2010)

Nearly one in five Texans struggle to afford food, according to a report released last week by the Food Research and Action Center. The Lone Star State is among 20 states with food hardship rates of 20 percent or higher in 2008-2009. Food hardship among families with children was even more pronounced, with 27.2 percent of Texas families reporting difficulty affording food. The study calls for job creation measures and increased investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) and other federal nutrition programs that help families afford food during tough economic times. To rise to this challenge, Texas needs to fix the problems in its SNAP eligibility system, where staffing shortages are preventing hundreds of thousands of needy Texans from accessing food assistance. Congress can help America’s struggling families by extending the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) additional unemployment benefits.

New Analysis Anticipates Child Poverty Increase (01/7/2010)

More than one of every five Texas children, or nearly 1.5 million kids, lived in poverty during 2008"and when data from 2009 are compiled, that number is likely to increase to one of every four kids, according to a new analysis released Wednesday by First Focus and Brookings researcher Julia Isaacs. The increase in poor children is placing an even heavier burden on an already strained network of private charities and state agencies already reeling from the triple punch of inadequate funding, staffing shortages, and a broken eligibility system that withholds critical assistance to needy families.

Census Data Show Only Beginning of Texans' Growing Need (09/29/2009)

Austin, Texas " American Community Survey (ACS) data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau show that more than 3.7 million Texans lived in poverty in 2008, with children hit the hardest. Because Texas entered the recession later and experienced lower rates of unemployment than the nation through most of 2008, the newly released data reflect only the very beginning of the recession’s impact on Texas. Due to the steep rise in the state unemployment rate in 2009, the current number of Texans living in poverty likely exceeds the 2008 estimates. Attached are tables showing local data for congressional districts, counties, and metro and rural areas.

Is Texas the Envy of the Nation? New Study Gives Texas an Overall Grade of "D" on Financial Stability (09/21/2009)

Austin, Texas"The Center for Public Policy Priorities today highlighted a new report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) that gives Texas an overall grade of “D” in assessing how families are doing financially. Texas is “trailing behind the rest of the country in health care, education and asset-building policies and outcomes.” CFED’s Assets & Opportunity Scorecard ranks states on Businesses & Jobs, Education, Financial Assets & Income, Health Care, and Housing & Homeownership.

Labor Day Update: Texas' Unemployment Insurance System (09/6/2009)

With the unemployment rate reaching 7.9 percent in July, coupled with a decrease in job creation, Texans face greater financial hardships, with many unable to pay their mortgages, afford health care and provide for their family’s basic needs. With unemployment on the rise, more Texans turn to the unemployment insurance (UI) system for financial relief to bridge the gap between jobs. Unfortunately, fewer than 35 percent of unemployed Texans became insured during the first quarter of 2009 " maintaining Texas’ ranking of 50th in the nation. Despite a low recipiency rate and a lower unemployment rate compared to the rest of the nation, the chronically insolvent UI Trust Fund ran dry after only six months of elevated claims. The Trust Fund now faces a gigantic deficit heading into 2010, billions of dollars in future debt service, and higher employer rates for years to come.

This Policy Page provides an overview of the Texas labor market and the state of the unemployment insurance system.

Congress Must Not Leave Any Wounded American Worker on the Economic Battlefield (09/3/2009)

If the First Infantry suffered 9 percent wounded, while the Second Infantry suffered “only” 7.9 percent, sending medicine to the First Infantry, but not the Second, would make no sense. Every wounded soldier deserves help. And, if the Second Infantry is bigger than the First, sending help to the Second would be even more important to the strength of the army. Yet, HR 3404 (McDermott) and S 1647 (Reed) propose to trigger an additional 13 weeks of critically important Emergency Unemployment Compensation for unemployed American workers based upon state unemployment rates. Unemployed workers in 28 states, including Texas, would not get help because of state rates below the trigger. This approach is unfair to American workers and counterproductive for the national economy. Congress should help workers in all states equally.

It's Getting Hot in Here (08/3/2009)

Texas Weatherization Assistance Program Provides Relief to Low-Income Families and Creates Jobs for the New Economy

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Texas will receive $327 million in additional Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funds through 2011. The new funds will increase the number of homes weatherized in Texas to between 30,000 and 35,000 homes, up from 4,173 in 2006. Weatherization helps low-income communities by making their homes more energy efficient, thereby reducing the cost of utilities and homes from extreme weather conditions. Weatherization also enhances the value of a family’s primary asset " their home. This policy page provides background on the Texas WAP and explores how ARRA funds can prepare more Texans for jobs of the future, meet consumer demands, and improve the quality of life for low-income seniors, persons with disabilities, and families with children.

SB 1569 on House Calendar Wednesday! (05/19/2009)

Unemployment is high and continues to rise. As of May 5, more than 353,000 Texans were receiving unemployment benefits, more than triple the number of Texans receiving UI benefits a year ago. SB 1569 by Senator Eltife is on the House’s Major State Daily Calendar for Wednesday, May 20, 2009. SB 1569 strengthens our UI system to protect unemployed Texans and qualifies Texas for $555 million in federal funding to reduce UI taxes for employers. The bill also provides a vehicle to extend unemployment compensation for about 70,000 Texans who will otherwise exhaust their federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) beginning in July. The federal government would pick up the entire cost to extend UI for these Texans, delivering more than $250 million in federal funding for the Texas economy.

Texas Legislature Must Act to Extend UI Benefits for 70,000 Texans--Paid for Entirely by Feds (05/14/2009)

As of May 5, more than 353,000 Texans were receiving unemployment benefits, more than triple the number of Texans receiving UI benefits a year ago. Currently pending in House Calendars, SB 1569 strengthens our UI system to protect unemployed Texans and qualifies Texas for $555 million in federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for our UI Trust Fund. But the Legislature has overlooked an entirely separate pot of money in the ARRA that is equally important. About 70,000 Texans are expected to exhaust their UI beginning in July 2009. ARRA will pick up 100 percent of the costs to extend UI for these Texans, bringing about $250 million in federal funds into the Texas economy with no strings attached.

CPPP Congratulates Texas Senate for Unemployment Insurance Vote, Urges Swift Passage by House (04/20/2009)

Austin, Texas---The Center for Public Policy Priorities today applauded the Texas Senate for passing CSSB 1569, which will help modernize Texas’ unemployment insurance (UI) system. The Texas House of Representatives must now approve companion legislation before it can be sent to the governor for his signature.

CPPP Congratulates Texas Senate for Unemployment Insurance Vote, Urges Final Passage (04/17/2009)

Austin, Texas---The Center for Public Policy Priorities today released the following statement applauding the Texas Senate for taking steps toward repairing and modernizing the state’s unemployment insurance (UI) system. CPPP also released an analysis of the benefits of UI modernization for each Texas Senate district. Last night, the Senate approved CSSB 1569 on second reading, paving the way for its final passage in the Senate.

Good Debt, Bad Debt, and Upward Mobility: An Analysis of San Antonio's West Side Families (04/13/2009)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities and the Annie E. Casey Foundation share the belief that to secure positive futures for children, we must help their families and communities provide the needed resources and supportive environments. This paper analyzes the data collected by Making Connections-San Antonio about the debt, credit, and assets of low-income families living in the West Side of San Antonio, Texas. Based on these data, we recommend policies to increase savings rates and provide low-income, urban families in Texas access to short-term capital to meet unexpected needs while creating a regulatory environment for credit services, including payday loans and automobile title loans.

Modernizing Texas’ Unemployment Insurance System: Testimony to the Senate Committee on Economic Development (03/30/2009)

Unemployment Insurance (UI) helps keep Texas families and the state economy afloat in tough times. This public structure is weaker than it should be. The legislature can make modest improvements in the system to help more Texans remain active participants in the economy when they lose their jobs. Texans need this public structure more than ever, with state unemployment up 52 percent since the beginning of the recession.

The Texas Recovery Plan (03/25/2009)

Public structures such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Unemployment Insurance were created to help families in tough economic times and to help the economy recover from a down cycle. These are indeed tough times"we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Tragically, many Texans are becoming aware for the first time of the crumbling nature of many of our public structures, weakened by years of neglect when times were good. Now that times are tough, we find our systems unprepared. Fortunately, though, the new federal economic recovery law makes resources available to help repair and improve these systems, which will in turn energize economic activity and get Texas on the road to recovery.

But, Texas will only get the federal funds"and the needed improvements to our public structures"if state policymakers make the right choices, soon.

Modernizing the Vehicle Asset Test (HB 1625): CPPP Testimony to the House Committee on Human Services (03/19/2009)

Reliable means of transportation are essential for families trying to get to and from work, and they are especially important for out-of-work Texans trying to find employment. Current asset tests for determining eligibility for public benefits unfairly penalize Texan families for owning reliable means of transportation. CPPP staff recently offered testimony in support of updating Texas' asset tests to ensure that needy individuals and families get the help they need and still have transportation.

Governor Needs to Let the Legislative Process Work Regarding Unemployment Insurance (03/12/2009)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities today issued a statement from Senior Policy Analyst Don Baylor, Jr., in response to Governor Rick Perry’s suggestion at a press conference that Texas should turn down more than $555 million federal recovery dollars for Unemployment Insurance.

HB 482: Testimony to the House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock (03/10/2009)

HB 482 creates a pilot program to test one innovative approach to improve access to fresh produce in currently underserved communities. By providing small retailers in low-income neighborhoods with the assistance to stock fresh produce, and establishing a senior farmer’s market nutrition program, HB 482 has the potential to increase healthy eating, lower the incidence of diet-related diseases, support local growers, and inform future state and federal nutrition policies.

Modernizing Texas' Unemployment Insurance System: Invited Testimony to House Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding (03/10/2009)

Unemployment Insurance (UI) helps keep Texas families and the state economy afloat in tough times. This public structure is weaker than it should be. The legislature can make modest improvements in the system to help more Texans remain active participants in the economy when they lose their jobs. Texans need this public structure more than ever, with state unemployment up 49 percent since the beginning of the recession. This presentation details the challenges facing our unemployment insurance system and the opportunity presented by the federal recovery law to strengthen and improve our UI system.

CPPP Supports Emergency Designation for Unemployment Insurance Reform (02/27/2009)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities today praised a proposal made to Governor Perry by Senators Rodney Ellis, Eddie Lucio, Jr., and Leticia Van de Putte, and Representative Joe Deshotel, to designate reform of the Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) System an emergency issue to be considered by the 81st Legislature. The legislators included their proposal in a letter to the governor on February 24, 2009.

CPPP: Texas Lawmakers Should Seize Opportunity to Fix Unemployment Insurance (02/25/2009)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities today urged state policymakers to draw down available funds for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in the federal recovery law. The center highlighted an exchange yesterday between Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) regarding the counterproductive effects of states forgoing money for UI:

BERNANKE: If unemployment benefits are not distributed to the unemployed, then they won't spend them and it won't have that particular element of stimulus.

SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): So if this was done on a wide basis, it would be counterproductive, not productive?

BERNANKE: It would reduce the stimulus effect of the package, yes.

Texas Economy and Families to Receive $5-$6 Billion if Texans Claim EITC (02/18/2009)

“Many Texas families are confronting financial hardship as recession grips our nation, making it vitally important that all those eligible take advantage of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit…. For a family struggling to pay medical bills, stave off foreclosure, or keep up with household expenses, Earned Income Tax Credits can be a crucial lifeline….” (HR 193)

As the nation’s most successful anti-poverty program, the EITC helps working families meet basic needs and provides a platform for their financial stability and success, while also acting as a powerful stimulus on local and state economies. Texans can apply for the EITC online using the IRS’s Free File service or by visiting a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site.

SB 1: Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee (02/16/2009)

Federal Economic Recovery Legislation and Texas (02/13/2009)

Today, Congress released the details of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which provides $789 billion to stimulate the economy. Many of these measures will also help protect vulnerable Texans during this economic downturn. To take full advantage of the benefits in the recovery package and set our economy on the road to recovery, Texas must plan immediately. We applaud Speaker Joe Straus for appointing the Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding, charged with monitoring federal action and suggesting to standing committees needed steps to qualify for federal economic recovery funds. This paper summarizes the portions of the bill that affect the state budget.

New Report Shows Need for Stronger Policies to Support Low-Income Working Families (10/14/2008)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities today pointed to a new report by the Working Poor Families Project as evidence of the need for Texas to improve public structures that serve low-income working families. According to the report, 37 percent of Texas working families are low-income. Nearly two-of-three Texas low-income working families lack a parent with any postsecondary education, ranking us 48th in the nation. The report also shows that 57 percent of Texas low-income families have at least one parent without health insurance in 2006. The center cited modest improvements in need-based state financial aid since publication of the last similar report, but urged continued improvement to public structures to ensure prosperity for all Texans.

CPPP Associate Director Anne Dunkelberg Honored with LBJ School Alumni Association's Distinguished Public Service Award (09/17/2008)

The Center for Public Policy Priorities today announced the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Alumni Association has honored CPPP Associate Director Anne Dunkelberg with their Distinguished Public Service Award. Dunkelberg is an LBJ School graduate and a long-time advocate for better policies for low- and mid-income Texans.

Emergency Food Stamps for Hurricane Ike Victims (09/16/2008)

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) received approval today from the federal government to provide Emergency Food Stamps to victims of Hurricane Ike. Families must have limited income to qualify, but will only need to provide proof of identity and residence in one of the 29 counties declared a federal disaster area.

Census Bureau Data Shows Economic Expansion Left Many Texans Behind in 2007 (08/26/2008)

New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that many Texans did not share the benefits of economic expansion in 2007 and still cannot meet their basic needs. Hard work for Texans was rewarded in far too many cases with very low wages and no employer-sponsored health insurance. While Texas poverty and income improved slightly in 2007, poverty rates remain worse than during the last recession, and Texas still has the worst uninsured rate in the U.S. The data suggest that Texas state policies make it harder, not easier, for hardworking Texans to get out of poverty and to get health insurance.

Report Uncovers What It Really Takes to Make Ends Meet in Texas (Press Release) (08/30/2007)

(Visit http://www.cppp.org/fbe for the full report and interactive website, which includes budget data for the metropolitan areas, family profiles, fact sheets, and policy recommendations.) It’s been well documented that the federal poverty level doesn’t accurately measure today’s cost of living. But what does it really take to get by in Texas? The Family Budget Estimator: What It Really Takes to Get By in Texas, released today by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, finds that what a 2-parent, 2-child family needs to earn to afford housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and other basic needs without relying on government assistance ranges from $29,982 a year in the Brownsville/Harlingen area to $45,770 a year in the Fort Worth/Arlington area. This is between $9,332 and $25,120 more than the poverty level and assumes that the family has employer-sponsored health insurance.

The Family Budget Estimator: What It Really Takes to Get By In Texas (Full Report) (08/30/2007)

(Visit http://www.cppp.org/fbe for the interactive website, which includes budget data for the metropolitan areas, family profiles, fact sheets, and policy recommendations.) It's been well documented that the federal poverty level doesn't accurately measure today's cost of living. But what does it really take to get by in Texas? The Center for Public Policy Priorities' Family Budget Estimator Project provides a realistic picture of what it costs families to live in each of Texas' major metropolitan areas by estimating housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and other basic expenses without relying on public assistance.

CPPP on Census' New Income, Poverty, and Health Data (08/28/2007)

For an economy in its fifth year of recovery, the new Census Bureau figures paint a disappointing picture nationally and in Texas. The poverty rate in Texas is unchanged at 16.3 percent in 2005-06, while median income edged up to $44,922, leaving Texas about where it was when the recession bottomed out in 2001. “Despite five years of economic growth, Texas’ poverty rate has stagnated,” said Frances Deviney, Senior Research Associate at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. “While it’s encouraging that conditions haven’t gotten worse, it’s discouraging that we still have 3.7 million Texans living in poverty.”

Poverty Continues to Plague Texas (08/29/2006)

Today the U.S. Census released its latest numbers which find that for another year, Texas ranks towards the bottom in overall poverty, child poverty, elderly poverty, uninsured Texans, and the percent of people who receive cash assistance.

Let's Share America's Blessings: Austin American-Statesman (07/4/2006)

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate the freedom and liberties we enjoy as Americans. But these blessings do not flow to all of us equally, especially in Texas.

Policy Discussion Featuring New Research on “Family Economic Security: Tools and Agenda for Change” (02/23/2006)

CPPP's Celia Hagert and Frances Deviney partnered with state and national groups to present new research and interactive tools designed to help practitioners, advocates, and policymakers in their work to improve the economic conditions of Texas’ families. Deviney and Hagert delivered two presentations: one in Austin and one in Houston.

CPPP Announces New Family Economic Security Research Tool (11/21/2005)

The National Center for Children in Poverty of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at The University of Texas, and the Center for Public Policy Priorities have just released The Family Resource Simulator, an interactive, web-based tool that calculates family resources and expenses as earnings increase, taking public benefits into account. The result is a series of graphs that show the impact of public benefits on family resources and basic family expenses as earnings rise.

Did Tax Cuts Contribute to Storm's Destruction?: Corpus Christi Caller-Times (09/19/2005)

We watched with horror as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. The images and stories are heartbreaking. Our sympathy and prayers go out to the individuals, families, and communities Hurricane Katrina has so tragically affected.

Statement about Hurricane Katrina (09/2/2005)

We watched with horror as Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. The images and stories are heartbreaking. Our sympathy and prayers go out to the individuals, families, and communities Hurricane Katrina has so tragically affected.

Tough Choices: Making it Work When Work Doesn't Pay (02/28/2005)

Tough Choices: Making it Work When Work Doesn't Pay, tells the real stories of six Central Texas families struggling to make ends meet. Funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the Houston Endowment, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report gives a first-hand look at the challenges facing low-income families.

Latest Data Show Texas Working Families Falling Further Behind Other Americans (09/5/2004)

A new analysis shows just how Texans and their families are doing in wages and employment compared to the average American working family. The news is not good; by many measures, Texas workers trail the national average and are falling further behind.

2001 Poverty Data Released by Census (09/24/2002)

On September 24, 2002, the U.S. Bureau of the Census released national and state-level income and poverty data from its March 2002 Current Population Survey (CPS). This survey provides information on American families' and individuals' poverty and income status for the year 2001; when combined with prior years' CPS data, statistically significant changes for states and for subgroups (such as different age categories) can also be discerned. This Policy Page highlights poverty and income data for Texas, such as the fact that 3.1 million Texans, of which 1.3 million were children, lived below poverty in 2001. The state poverty rate overall was 14.9 percent; for children, it was 21.1 percent.

Making It: What it Really Takes to Live in Texas (09/1/2002)

With this publication, the Center for Public Policy Priorities offers the Family Security Index FSI) and the Family Security Portfolio (FSP) as two new tools to help build economic security for all families in our neighborhoods, our cities, and our state.

Texas Poverty: An Overview (06/29/2000)

Texas is one of the largest states in the country, yet, for reasons of history and economy, it differs in important ways from other large states such as New York and California. This primer is intended to provide a succinct profile of Texas' low-income residents and their needs as well as the state's limited commitment to responding to these needs with its own funds. Each section provides the most recent available data, data sources and links to additional sources of information.

Working But Poor: A Study of the Forgotten Texans Who Work Hard Yet Remain in Poverty (03/1/1999)

Working But Poor in Texas examines who these working families are. The report outlines economic and policy changes contributing to the prevalence of poverty among working families. Finally, Working But Poor presents a policy agenda that will ensure that work provides not only a job or a way off welfare, but also the means to support a family and secure a decent standard of living.

View All Articles by Year:


1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017