Center for Public Policy Priorities
TEXAS AND LBJ'S WAR ON POVERTY

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson called on Congress and our nation to fight poverty in the United States. As a public school teacher in Texas, LBJ witnessed firsthand the challenges poor families faced to make ends meet. Drawing from his experience in Texas, LBJ's vision led to more jobs, investments in education, and vital benefit programs that continue to lift millions of Americans out of poverty. Yet too many working families continue to struggle. 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 our growing economy, Texas has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, at 17.9 percent. With a high percentage of low-wage jobs, work isn't paying enough for families to live on, and income inequality is growing even more rapidly in Texas than nationally.


Today, let's renew our commitment to alleviate poverty, shrink the inequality gap, and build an economy that works for everyone, nationally and in Texas.

RESOURCES

Poverty in Texas 2013 FACTSHEET
How is Your Texas County Faring When It Comes to Economic Opportunity? TEXAS REGIONAL OPPORTUNITY INDEX
What Do Texas Families in Your Metro Area Need to Meet Their Basic Needs? BETTER TEXAS FAMILY BUDGETS TOOL
Poverty 101 FACT SHEET

NATIONAL RESOURCES

For Texas families, having health insurance that fits their budget means the opportunity to get preventive care and services when sick, greater economic security, and protection should a medical crisis occur. With Texas having the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country, it is imperative that health insurance also be available for the most vulnerable Texans.


VIEW OUR HEALTH CARE WORK


Because of Texas' high percentage of low-wage jobs, many Texans are poor because their income is too low to meet basic needs and save for their futures. Jobs that pay a family-supporting wage and offer benefits, in addition to a strong educational pipeline to connect Texans to college and careers, are the best solutions to move Texans up the economic ladder.


VIEW OUR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY WORK

Investing in education, starting with pre-K and continuing through high school completion programs, is the most important strategy for reducing the poverty rate.

VIEW OUR EDUCATION WORK
Having access to enough food means Texans are well-equipped to perform well at work and children stay healthy and do well in school. Because so many Texas jobs don't pay enough for families to meet their most basic needs, like food, benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are crucial to keeping families from falling into further hardship.