Cover image for American poverty in a new era of reform
American poverty in a new era of reform
Rodgers, Harrell R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 239 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1350 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HC110.P6 R638 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The welfare reform plan enacted in the USA in August 1996 was designed to assist as many of the poor as possible to become self-reliant, secure, and economically productive. This book focuses on the implementation and initial results of that reform.

Author Notes

Harrell R. Rodgers, Jr., is professor of political science at the University of Houston

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Rodgers (political science, Univ. of Houston), the well-regarded author of a multitude of writings on poverty and social welfare programs, examines results of the welfare reform plan that was enacted in 1996. He considers every aspect of welfare reform in a clear, concise, and well-documented manner, examining income and expenditure data broken down by age group, sex, educational level, number of children, marital status, and specific location. He imparts the good news that not only does welfare reform appear to be working to reduce welfare rolls but across the boards each state has seen a more rapid decline than anticipated. However, he validly cautions that this phenomenon is still far from understood as too little is known about what has happened to the people who are no longer on welfare. He maintains that the bigger question is not whether we can make welfare reform work, but whether we can eliminate poverty. Though he remains skeptical about eliminating poverty, he posits that it may be more realistic to approach improvements to poverty by degrees. Recommended for sociology collections in academic and large public libraries.DSandra Isaacson, US EPA/OAO Corp., Las Vegas, NV (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Rodgers (Univ. of Houston), author of several excellent books on poverty, turns his attention to US welfare reform. He begins by summarizing how poverty is measured, the facts about poverty in the US since 1959, and various theories about why US poverty rates are so high. Rodgers then turns his attention to the history of welfare in the US, various critiques of US welfare programs, and early attempts at reforming welfare. This leads to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, which ended welfare. Rodgers summarizes the provisions of this law and the recent literature evaluating PRWORA. On the plus side, the law has stressed work and individual responsibility. On the negative side, PRWORA has not reduced poverty; in fact, many families are worse off because people with few skills, little education, or health problems are unable to earn enough from work. Unfortunately, this book makes no positive contribution or argument. In addition, it contains many rudimentary errors. The Federal Reserve is responsible for monetary policy rather than fiscal policy (p. 80), and the race riots of 1965-69 could not possibly have led Congress to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act (p. 88). As an overview of the topic, appropriate for comprehensive public and undergraduate collections. ; Monmouth University (NJ)

Table of Contents

Tables and Figures
1 Introduction: American Poverty
2 How Many Americans Are Poor?
3 The American Poor
4 Why Are People Poor in America?
5 The Evolution of Welfare: Ending Welfare as We Know It
6 State Welfare Plans Under PRWORA
7 After PRWORA: The American Welfare System
8 The Impact of Welfare Reform
9 Refining American Social Welfare Policy
Appendix A Internet Sources
Appendix B State Poverty Ranges
Appendix C Percentage of People Without Health Insurance Coverage
Appendix D Marriages and Divorces, 1950-2001
About the Author