JLF’s John Hood writes today about chronic poverty — why it continues and how to address it. It’s a solid, thoughtful column worthy of your time. Hood offers key data about the problem:

When people graduate from high school, work full-time, wait until marriage before having children, and avoid alcohol or drug addictions, the likelihood they will spend any significant time in poverty is minuscule – less than 2 percent. The vast majority of those working, sober, married high-school graduates will spent most of their lives living in households with incomes near or above the nation’s median income.

On the other hand, for every deviation from these basic rules of upward mobility, a household increases its risk of being in poverty. Violate all of these rules, and your chances of living in poverty rise to nearly 80 percent.

Hood then offers thoughts on how to address the situation. You’ll find the entire column here.