Poverty Facts is a series that provides key background information for understanding research and policies affecting poverty. We aim to promote informed discussion and debate on the challenges of addressing poverty and inequality in the United States. Poverty Facts is authored by faculty and graduate student affiliates of the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis.
For the past two decades, U.S. anti-poverty policy has coalesced around the idea that work should be at the center of anti-poverty programs. Bi-partisan welfare reform in the 1990s focused on work requirements and time limits. The growth of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which increases after-tax income for those working at the bottom of the wage distribution, has also emphasized the importance of work.