In The Know: New Census data shows stagnant incomes, many Oklahomans still in poverty

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that new data from the U.S. Census showed stagnant incomes in Oklahoma and many families still living in poverty.  The House passed a bill that would make substantial cuts to low-income food and nutrition programs;  the bill is opposed in the Senate and the White House has indicated it would veto such cuts. 

The OK Policy blog explained those cuts and what they would mean for Oklahoma, including an infographic showing who would be affected.  More than 100 parents and educators expressed their dismay at a Tulsa Parent Legislative Action Committee meeting over increased testing in Oklahoma classrooms and recent IT ‘fiascos’.  

The U.S. Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether two private businesses, Hobby Lobby and a Christian bookstore chain, are exempt from providing comprehensive employee health coverage as required by a new federal law.  In today’s Policy Note, The Atlantic Cities reported on new research that proves that households’ receiving public housing vouchers do not raise city or neighborhood crime rates, despite popular arguments that they do.  The Number of the Day is the median household income in Oklahoma in 2012.

In The News

2012 New Census data shows stagnant incomes, many Oklahomans still living in poverty
More than 1 of every 6 Oklahomans lived in families that fell below the poverty line in 2012, according to Census Bureau data released today. For Oklahoma children, the poverty rate is now 23.8 percent, up 1.7 percentage points since 2007. A 3-person household is considered below the poverty line if their income is $19,090 or less. Median household incomes in Oklahoma have dropped significantly in the last five years, from $46,031 in 2007 to $44,312 in 2012.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

House and Senate face deep divide over food stamps
The House passed a bill Thursday that would make around $4 billion in cuts annually to the almost $80 billion-a-year food stamp program and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place for recipients. A Senate-passed farm bill would make around a tenth of the amount those cuts, or $400 million a year. The White House threatened a veto, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the bill “hateful, punitive legislation.”

Read more from Associated Press

SNAP out of it: Food security shouldn’t be a budget battle
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as ‘food stamps’, faces steep cuts in Congress this fall. First, a temporary boost in SNAP benefits enacted by the stimulus bill (the 2009 Recovery Act) is set to expire in November. Second, a long-delayed vote on SNAP reauthorization will be taken up by the House of Representatives today on a bill that includes large funding cuts and unprecedented rule changes. This post explains the implications of these developments and the effect of SNAP cuts on working Oklahomans.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

INFOGRAPHIC: Who’s at risk from food stamp cuts?


Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Teachers, parents vent frustration over increased testing
More than 100 Tulsa-area parents and educators showed up at a Tulsa Parent Legislative Action Committee meeting to express their dismay with increased testing in Oklahoma classrooms. “It really is a nightmare, to say the least,” said Sherry Durkee, assistant superintendent and director of instructional services and federal programs at Sand Springs Public Schools.

Read more from Tulsa World

US wants Supreme Court to take up Hobby Lobby case
The federal government asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to decide whether Hobby Lobby and a Christian bookstore chain have to provide a wide range of birth control options for workers as part of the federal health care law. The 251-page appeal was filed Thursday by U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli and other government attorneys. The Oklahoma businesses have operated under a court order that allows them to avoid fines while they challenge a portion of the new law requiring them to provide the coverage.

Read more from Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“If we’re going to sell our souls for high-stakes testing, we have to be able to rely on timely test data and consistent standards that are not raised at the last minute to create false failing scores.”

Stan Trout, principal at Sand Springs’ Charles Page High School

Number of the Day


Median household income in Oklahoma in 2012, down 3.7 percent from 2007

Source: U.S. Census via Oklahoma Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Moving Poor People Into a Neighborhood Doesn’t Cause Crime
A growing stack of research now supports the second hypothesis that housing vouchers do not in fact lead to crime. Lens has just added another study to that literature, published in the journal Urban Studies. He looked at crime and housing data in 215 cities between 1997 and 2008 – controlling for national and regional crime trends, demographic and income variables, employment rates and more – and found “virtually no relationship” between the prevalence of Housing Choice Voucher Program households and higher crime at the city level or in the suburbs.

Read more from Atlantic Cities

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