Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog: Was the "War on Poverty" a Success? Yes.The overall poverty rate fell by almost 40% from 1967 to 2012. The poverty rate for children fell by a similar amount, for those of working-age the rate fell by 23% and for the elderly a remarkable 78%.Whatever one thinks about the desirability of a "war on poverty" or the way that it has been implemented ideologically or politically, we should all be able to agree that the incidence of poverty -- as measured by the SPM -- has dropped dramatically since the 1960s. A major explanation for the drop is government programs focused on the poor, as documented by Wimer et al..
Even though there remains considerable inequality and outright poverty (still 16% in 2012), as well as important debates on what "poverty" actually means, we can also look at the numbers and conclude that the "war on poverty" has been a success.