Seefeldt: "Poverty is a policy choice"

June 22, 2023 Newsweek

Kristin Seefeldt, Newsweek:  n terms of age, race, and gender identity, America's poor are "a heterogeneous group of people," Kristin Seefeldt, associate director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, told Newsweek. "But children are more likely to experience poverty than working-age adults, women are more likely to experience poverty than men, and people of color are more likely to experience poverty than folks who identify as white."

These trends, Seefeldt said, reflect both historic and ongoing discrimination "in the policies we have in place in the U.S."

"Poverty is a policy choice," she said. "If we put in place more comprehensive health care, if we put in place better income support, we could do something about that, at least from an income perspective.

"We don't have parental leave policies like almost all of Western Europe has, so people who have children often have to miss work if their kids are sick, and that's lower income for them at the end of the day," she continued.

"These are decisions that we've made as a nation, and if we made some other choices, we could really do something pretty significant when it comes to reducing poverty."