“The prescription for the cure rests with an accurate diagnosis of the disease.”

— Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

“It is a spiritually impoverished nation that permits infants and children to be the poorest Americans.”

— Marian Wright Edelman 


There are endless myths surrounding poverty that persist despite a wealth of evidence and research to the contrary. These myths often stem from misunderstandings, stereotypes and oversimplifications of complex socioeconomic issues. Challenging these myths is essential for developing more effective policies and strategies to address poverty and inequities. Doing this will help promote social justice and economic opportunity for all individuals and communities. Today’s resources look at some of the realities of poverty to help discern fact from fiction. 


The definition of who lives in poverty in Connecticut may surprise you. Read this article from the CT Mirror that shares the recent ALICE report from Connecticut United Ways demonstrating that “a family of four needs $126,000 a year to survive in CT.”  

Looking at national poverty rates, this story from Time.com shows that 37.9 million people lived in poverty in 2022. That's a 12% increase — the largest one-year increase in history: “The Surprising Poverty Levels Across the U.S.

The history of how poverty is measured has evolved significantly over time, impacting changes in economic theory, social policy and how data is reported. Read “7 Key Trends in Poverty in the United States” from the Peterson Foundation to understand the evolution towards more comprehensive and nuanced approaches to capture who is truly affected. 


How to Measure Poverty” depicts how the United States designed a poverty line measure, what it does and doesn’t capture and how our definition of poverty has evolved over time - from the Institute for Research on Poverty. (4 minutes)

New Poverty Stats in CT: The Real Story”: Fox 61 interviews United Way of Connecticut's Amy Casavina Hall to dive into new data, showing a snapshot of how many Connecticut households fell below the ALICE threshold for financial survival in 2021. (12 minutes)

This CNBC story, “Why the U.S. Can’t Solve Poverty,” challenges the cultural myth that people should be able to ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ and outlines the annual cost of economic security programs. (14 minutes)


Understanding Poverty, Wellbeing and Food Security for US Children,” from the Duke Sanford World Policy Center, discusses how access to food is at the intersection of poverty and well-being. (13 minutes) 

On the Media, with Brook Gladstone offers “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths,” a series of five podcasts from 2016 that remains relevant as the myths persist. (25 minutes each)  

The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America” identifies a new way of looking at poverty called the ‘Index of Deep Disadvantage,’ which points to legacies of profound racism, extractive big industry and crumbling social infrastructure contributing to generations of people struggling to thrive. (37 minutes) 


Take this Poverty Quiz from Poverty USA to test your knowledge about the root causes and incidence of poverty.  

Explore statewide and local community poverty indicators, statistics and graphs to further your understanding of how to address poverty in the latest Data Haven Town Equity Reports, Health Equity Reports and Community Wellbeing Reports.  

The Connecticut legislative session just started – a perfect time to get familiar with the legislative process, what’s on the agenda and priorities that address poverty, such as “Debates over the Child Tax Credit.” In fact, sign-up to speak at the public hearing about the CT Child Tax Credit on Wednesday, either in-person or remotely via Zoom deadline: Tuesday at 6 PM. Dispel the myth that there’s 'nothing you can do.' 

Want to refer back to an earlier Equity Challenge email in this series? Please visit this link.

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United Way of Connecticut

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