Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: CAP Action Report: Poverty, Income Inequality in Texas Remain Unacceptably High
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Action Report: Poverty, Income Inequality in Texas Remain Unacceptably High

Washington, D.C. — A new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that Texas is doing worse than most states in several indicators of poverty, including the overall poverty rate, the child poverty rate, health insurance coverage, and income inequality. The report also ranks Texas 50th in the nation for health care coverage among low-income people.

CAP Action’s report outlines several policy recommendations to reduce the poverty rate in Texas, including raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

In 2013, the national poverty rate remained unacceptably high at 14.5 percent, with some 45.3 million Americans living in poverty. In Texas, 17.5 percent of people had incomes below the poverty line—$ 23,834 annually for a family of four—in 2013, ranking the state 38th in the nation.

“Even though our economy is growing again, far too many families are not seeing any benefits. This is especially true for the millions of Texans living in poverty,” said Melissa Boteach, Vice President of Half in Ten at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Through common-sense policies such as raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid, Texas lawmakers have the power to reduce poverty and provide economic security and opportunity to more Texans.”

Of the 15 poverty indicators tracked in the report, Texas ranked in the bottom half of the country for 11 indicators. Although Texas scored well on some indicators—including ranking second highest for high school graduation rates and a low rank for the number of children living apart from parents—Texas ranked poorly on several poverty indicators compared to other states, including:

  • 49th in the nation for hunger and food insecurity. From 2011 to 2013, an average 18 percent of households in Texas were food insecure, meaning that they experienced difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of money or resources during some point of the year.
  • 42nd in the nation for higher education attainment rate. Only one in three young adults ages 25 to 34 in Texas had an associate’s degree or higher from 2010 to 2012.
  • 43rd in the nation for unemployment insurance coverage. Only 19.2 percent of unemployed workers in Texas were helped by unemployment insurance in 2013.
  • 38th in the nation for child poverty rate. Nearly one in four children younger than age 18 in Texas lived below the poverty line in 2013.

Read the report: State of the States Report 2014: Local Momentum for National Change to Cut Poverty and Inequality by Sarah Baron

Read the Texas fact sheet here

Related resources: Building Local Momentum for National Change: Half in Ten Annual Poverty and Inequality Indicators Report by Melissa Boteach, Shawn Fremstad, Erik Stegman, Sarah Baron, and Rebecca Vallas

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328.