Understanding Poverty


In the 1960s, the United States developed a national system of social programs based on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 declaration of “unconditional war on poverty.” In 1966, the Academy convened a series of seminars on the many components of poverty. The interdisciplinary dialogues brought together scholars and government officials to discuss the nature of poverty — its cultural and economic roots, and the effects of education, racial discrimination, and segregation — and to evaluate the social action programs then in place.

Resulting Publications

  • On Understanding Poverty: Perspectives from the Social Sciences, ed. Daniel P. Moynihan. New York: Basic Books, 1969. (out of print)
  • On Fighting Poverty: Perspectives from Experience, ed. James Sundquist. New York: Basic Books, 1969. (out of print)


Principal Investigator