Poverty Scorecard
Rating members of congress

Congressional Action on Poverty in 2015

The past year saw a highly polarized and gridlocked Congress, with many elected officials unresponsive to their poorest constituents – a challenging climate from which to advance policies and programs to ensure upward mobility for people in poverty.

The Shriver Center’s annual Poverty Scorecard shines a light on important poverty-related legislation considered by Congress in the past year and provides a comprehensive look at how each representative voted on poverty, as well as a benchmark for Congress’s overall efforts.

Key Takeaways

Congress remains highly polarized on poverty-related issues, with most members at either the top or the bottom of the grading scale.

Our grading scale:
Distribution of grades for state delegations, senators, and representatives
State Delegations08910158

Despite this polarization, Congress passed and the President signed into law three pieces of legislation of great significance to people living in poverty.

As a group, Members of Congress from states with the highest poverty rates were the least responsive to their low-income constituents.

Members of Congress can do much more to address the needs facing low-income Americans and provide opportunities for economic advancement. And we see growing opportunities for progress at the state level. The Poverty Scorecard also features legislative successes to support communities in need from our Legal Impact Network and illuminates the potential for state-level efforts to fight poverty more effectively.

The Poverty Scorecard arms the public with critical information and tools to hold their elected officials accountable in advancing policies that promote equity and opportunity for all.


The Shriver Center welcomes media inquiries regarding the Poverty Scorecard or our other efforts to advance social and economic justice for low-income people. Contact Michelle Nicolet at 312.368.2675 for more information.

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