Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson called on Congress and our nation to fight poverty in the United States.
As a Texas public school teacher, LBJ witnessed firsthand the barriers that poor families faced to get ahead. Breaking down those barriers became the foundation of his vision for America. A review of poverty in Texas today is a window into the future of the country, with 1 in 12 Americans now living in Texas, and Texas at the leading edge of a profound demographic shift nationally.
Despite a growing state economy, Texas continues to have one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, at 17.9 percent. One in four Texas children live in poverty, and we have the highest rate of adults lacking a high school degree.
We must renew our commitment to alleviate poverty and enable broad prosperity – nationally and in Texas – much of America will begin to look a lot like Texas in the coming years. For Texas and the United States to flourish, we need an opportunity-based economy that reduces the rate of poverty and shrinks the inequality gap.
On January 8, we hosted a lively Twitter chat on LBJ’s legacy and poverty today with the LBJ Foundation (@LBJLibraryNow), Greg Kaufmann (@GregKaufmann), former poverty correspondent for The Nation and contributor to The Nation and BillMoyers.com, and local Austin organization Mobile Loaves and Fishes (@MLFNow). Check out the Storify to get the highlights from our chat and follow the hashtag #txpoverty to keep up the conversation!
Read our full oped in this weekend’s Houston Chronicle, and visit our special webpage commemorating LBJ’s War on Poverty for updated resources on how far we’ve come since 1964 and the work that remains to build an economy that works for everyone. Download our fact sheet below, which includes a snapshot of how Texans today are benefiting from War on Poverty initiatives and what poverty in Texas looks like today–