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Desperate Measures: Survival Strategies of the Poorest of the Poor

  • Urban Institute 2100 M Street NW, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20037 United States (map)

Evidence has emerged that the number of families living with little to no income has climbed over the past two decades. While the 1996 welfare reform act is considered a historic achievement for incentivizing work and reducing the number of people receiving government assistance, people currently unable to find work are left with virtually no safety net.

During this panel discussion, Kathryn Edin, sociologist and coauthor of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, will explain why assistance programs are essentially nonexistent for many who need them most. Her work provides context for recent findings from the Urban Institute on poverty-coping mechanisms. Urban scholar Susan Popkin will discuss her work on youth in distressed communities.


Kathryn Edin, Bloomberg distinguished professor, Johns Hopkins University
Kimberlyn Leary, former adviser, Council on Women and Girls, White House
Susan J. Popkin, senior fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
Gregory Acs, director, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute

Pam Fessler, correspondent, national desk, NPR