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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Day: September 14, 2011

US Census: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance, 2010

  • U.S. poverty totals hit a 50-year high, By Don Lee, Noam Levey and Alejandro Lazo, September 14, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “In a grim portrait of a nation in economic turmoil, the government reported that the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million – the most in at least half a century – as 1 million more Americans went without health insurance and household incomes fell sharply. The poverty rate for all Americans rose in 2010 for the third consecutive year, matching the 15.1% figure in 1993 and pushing many more young adults to double up or return to their parents’ home to avoid joining the ranks of the poor. Taken together, the annual income and poverty snapshot released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau underscored how the recession is casting a long shadow well after its official end in June 2009…”
  • Young people hit hard as U.S. poverty rate increases to 15.1 percent, By Matt O’Brien, September 13, 2011, San Jose Mercury News: “Joblessness pushed an additional 2.6 million people into poverty last year as 15.1 percent of Americans and 16.3 percent of Californians were living under the poverty line — the highest rate since 1993, according to 2010 U.S. census statistics released Tuesday. ‘I never thought it was going to be this bad,’ said Celina Lopez, a single mother of two young children who has moved in with her grandmother in El Sobrante. ‘My situation is pretty scary, in terms of housing, kids and being able to provide for them. I didn’t think it would be this hard to find a job.’ The national poverty rate rose from 14.3 percent in 2009, and it increased most dramatically for children and the youngest working-age adults, those from 18 to 24…”
  • Census figures show record numbers of Americans in poverty, By Alfred Lubrano, September 14, 2011, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Stymied by a relentlessly dismal economy, more Americans were in poverty in 2010 than at any other time since poverty levels were first published 52 years ago, new government figures show. Overall, 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009. The poverty standard for a family of four is an annual income of $22,113. The poverty rate last year was 15.1 percent, compared with 14.3 percent in 2009. It was the highest rate in 17 years, according to U.S. Census figures released Tuesday…”
  • Government aid keeps millions out of poverty, By Tami Luhby, September 14, 2011, “Without help from the federal government, millions more people would have sunk below the poverty line in 2010, U.S. Census data shows. Unemployment insurance helped keep 3.2 million Americans out of poverty in 2010, according to new statistics released Tuesday. Without this vital lifeline, which lasts up to 99 weeks, these jobless folks would have joined the roughly 46.2 million people now considered in poverty. Other government assistance programs, such as food stamps, also provided much-needed support to the poor. But because the Census Bureau’s official poverty statistics don’t consider these income sources, they were not taken into account when determining whether a person fell below the line, which is $22,314 for a family of four. However, the Census Bureau does calculate what impact this assistance would have had if it were measured…”
  • Rising poverty rate shows holes in safety net, By John W. Schoen, September 13, 2011, “The worst economic downturn since the 1930s has left a record number of Americans in poverty and created strains on the government’s safety net not seen in decades, according to a report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. ‘Clearly the safety net has helped, but it’s got holes in it,’ said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former White House economist. With the unemployment rate stuck stubbornly over 9 percent, the poverty rate in the United States climbed to 15.1 percent last year – the highest level since 1993 – as the number of impoverished Americans swelled to a record 46.2 million, the Census report said…”
  • Poverty rate rises, especially for Hispanics, By Schuyler Velasco, September 13, 2011, Christian Science Monitor: “More Americans are living in poverty than ever before – and for Hispanics, the trends are especially bleak. Their poverty rate went up 1.3 percent in 2010, the sharpest annual rise of any group except blacks. More than a quarter of Hispanics – some 13.2 million people – were living below poverty level, more than double the 9.9 percent rate of non-Hispanic whites, according to a new report from the US Census Bureau. The median household income for Hispanics dropped from $38,667 to $37,759 – a decrease of 2.3 percent…”