The New Faces of American Poverty

A Reference Guide to the Great Recession

by Lindsey K. Hanson and Timothy J. Essenburg, Editors


The Great Recession led to higher rates of poverty than had been seen in the United States in nearly two decades.

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Cover image for The New Faces of American Poverty

January 2014


Pages 935
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Current Events and Issues/Society
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A timely examination of the effects of the Great Recession on Americans and the resulting federal reforms to healthcare, employment, and housing policies as a means to alleviate poverty.

The Great Recession (2007 to 2009) brought the United States—routinely touted as the richest country in the world—to historical levels of poverty. Rising unemployment, government budget crises, and the collapse of the housing market had devastating effects on the poor and middle class. This is one of the first books to focus on the impact of the Great Recession on poverty in America, examining governmental and cultural responses to the economic downturn; the demographics of poverty by gender, age, occupation, education, geographical area, and ethnic identity; and federal and state efforts toward reform and relief. Essays from more than 20 contributing writers explore the history of poverty in America and provide a vision of what lies ahead for the American economy.


  • Offers a detailed analysis of the impact of the Great Recession on poverty rates across 21 distinct demographic groups, including immigrants, children, seniors, veterans, and various racial and ethnic groups
  • Provides a basis for understanding the causes of the economic crises and the impact on the daily lives of individuals, families, and groups
  • Includes more than 20 contributing writers from universities and anti-poverty programs from across the country
  • Presents charts and graphics to illustrate key aspects of the Great Recession
  • Examines multiple groups in society in terms of how they have been affected by the Great Recession, rather than being limited to one or two segments of the population
  • Looks across multiple regions in terms of groups, segments of the economy, and political trends
  • Provides secondary looks past the first group boundaries to delve deeper into the circumstances of those whose circumstances have drastically changed by the Great Recession
Author Info

Lindsey K. Hanson is a staff attorney at a nonprofit in Minnesota where she represents low-income tenants in housing cases. Her published works include Greenwood's Battleground: Politics and Government and ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today.

Timothy J. Essenburg, PhD, is professor of economics at Bethel University, Saint Paul, MN. In 1998 he cofounded the Banyan Community, a community development corporation in the East Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis, and has facilitated community workshops on anti-racism.



"Editors Hanson and Essenburg offer a timely reference guide to the development and consequences of the great recession with respect to poverty in the United States. . . . The editors have assembled a highly qualified group of 23 contributors who make this volume an excellent starting point for research on poverty during and after the great recession. . . . Recommended."Choice

"In this work, editors Hanson and Essenburg wade into the muddied waters with a fascinating, eye-opening resource marked by sound research and lucid analysis. . . . The editors have avoided the slippery slope into politically charged argumentation and provide high school and undergraduates with a balanced, well-conceived survey of America's most imperative social issue."Booklist, Starred Review

"The chapters are well written, using many reliable sources to discuss the topics. . . . [C]aptures the reason for the great recession and has some suggestions for going forward. . . . [A] good place to start studying the topic."ARBA

"The New Faces of American Poverty is a very clearly written, data-rich encyclopedia . . . This is an expansive yet succinct telling of a very complex story. . . . This is an important addition to any reference collection."Reference Reviews


2015 Editors' Choice Selection — Booklist

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