February 26, 2020
In yesterday’s Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina, Mike Bloomberg said, “Improving education is the only way to fix poverty….” Yet Americans living in poverty today are more educated than ever. In 2018, 26 million adults (age 25 and over) had incomes below the poverty line. Three out of every four of them had a high school diploma, and 40 percent had education beyond high school.
Education is good, but it won’t “fix” poverty. Wealthy nations with much lower poverty rates than the United States have strong welfare-state and labor-market institutions that reduce the risk of poverty for people at all education levels.