In a recent three-year period (1994-1996), three out of ten Americans fell below the poverty line. One in twenty stayed impoverished for a full two years. Almost half of all American children live in households with no net financial assets (defined as wealth minus home and automobile equity that are generally not available for investment).


The gap between the richest and poorest ten percent of the U.S. population is greater than that of all other industrialized countries. 

During the 1980s, the incomes of the richest 1% of American families grew 62.9%. The bottom 60% of famiiles actually experienced a decline. 

Since 1973, wages have fallen 16 percent, after adjusting for inflation. There has been a 47% increase in full-time workers living below the poverty line. There are now 9.4 million working poor in this country.


In 1994, nearly half of female-headed households in America lived in poverty for at least two months in a row, more than three times the poverty rate of married couples. During the period of 1994 to 1996, single mothers were eight times as likely as married couples to live in poverty for two years.


Black household income is approximately 62 cents for every dollar earned by white households. Assets owned by black Americans is only 8 cents for every dollar owned by whites.

Poverty rate for blacks has been at least three times that of whites since 1979, reaching 33.1% in 1993, and the Hispanic rate climbed from 21.9% to 30.6% in 1993.


Firms with 5 to 500 employees experienced a net loss of over 2 million jobs from 1989 to 1991. During the same time, microenterprises created a net increase of over 2 million jobs.

Microbusinesses with one to four employees generated 43 percent of the net new jobs created in the U.S. from 1990 to 1994.


An estimated 3.5 million home-based businesses owned by women provide full-or-part-time employment to 14 million people. One in eight is minority-owned.

Women-owned businesses are the fastest growing business segment in the country; a new woman-owned business opens every 11 seconds.


An Aspen Institute study of established microenterprise programs reported that 40% of clients surveyed experienced increases in household earnings and 58% increased household assets. 56% relied on their microbusiness as their primary source of earnings.

A survey of microenterprise programs helping individuals on public assistance showed that reliance on welfare as a primary source of income decreased by 65%. Welfare receipts decreased 52% and food stamp receipts decreased 43%. 

The cost of job creation when corporations are lured to communities can cost between $20,000 and $100,000 per job created. Microenterprise programs average between $2,000 and $9,000 in costs per job created.

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