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

Day: September 15, 2011

US Census: States – Income, Poverty and Health Insurance, 2010

  • Census finds more people than ever living in poverty, By William Mullen, Ryan Haggerty and John Keilman, September 14, 2011, Chicago Tribune: “The parking lot of the United Methodist Church of Worth was overflowing Tuesday night, forcing some people to park their vehicles across the sidewalk. The number of people coming to the church’s food pantry has steadily increased in recent years, said the facility’s director, Susan Greer. On most days the pantry is open, more than 160 families show up to get groceries. ‘I’m making it, but I’m not making it very good,’ said Warren Smith, 53, a house painter who saw steady work dry up about five years ago. The number of people in similar predicaments is growing across the country. In a grim portrait of a nation in economic turmoil, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million – the most in the 52 years the statistic’s been kept. A million more Americans went without health insurance and household incomes fell sharply, the data showed…”
  • California poverty rate rises in 2010 for fourth year in a row, By Alana Semuels and Duke Helfand, September 13, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “The number of Californians living in poverty grew for the fourth straight year in 2010, more evidence that continued high unemployment and a struggling economy are weighing on the state’s families. About 6 million Californians had incomes below the federal poverty line of $22,113 for a family of four in 2010, census data released Tuesday show. That’s 16.3% of the population, up from 15.3% in 2009. Nearly 1 in 5 residents lacked health insurance last year, one of the highest rates in the nation. Median household income in the state, when adjusted for inflation, fell 4.6% to $54,459. That’s the largest decline in a single year since record keeping began…”
  • State poverty hits 10.8%, incomes slide, By Warren Wolfe and Jeremy Olson, September 13, 2011, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “The recession of 2008-09 wiped out more than a decade’s worth of earnings gains in Minnesota and has left nearly one in six U.S. residents in poverty. The numbers, released Tuesday by the Census Bureau and collected during 2010, showed both the stark impact of the worst downturn since the 1930s and the sluggish pace of the weak recovery that has followed it. In Minnesota, the census information showed household income dipped 3 percent to $54,785 — the lowest level in 15 years. The number of Minnesotans living below the poverty line hit 10.8 percent, up from 9.6 percent in 2007-08. About 544,000 Minnesotans now live in poverty, a sharp increase since 2000. One in four Minnesotans, more than 1 million people, were considered ‘near poor,’ with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line. The federal poverty threshold is $11,344 for a single person, or $22,113 for a family of four…”
  • Poverty hitting harder in Indiana, By Bill McCleery, September 13, 2011, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana has outshone its neighbors in keeping and attracting jobs, but Census Bureau figures released Tuesday showed that more Hoosiers are slipping into poverty. Indiana’s poverty rate in 2010 climbed to 16.3 percent — higher than the national average of 15.1 percent and putting the state in a tie for 15th in the nation with California and Oklahoma. Indiana had a poverty rate of 16.1 percent in 2009…”
  • Median income in Ohio hits 27-year low, By Bill Bush, September 14, 2011, Columbus Dispatch: “Ohio households were poorer last year than they’ve been in more than 25 years, and the number of people living in poverty is higher than it’s been in more than 30 years, according to a census report released yesterday. ‘People are getting squeezed from every direction,’ said James Newton, chief economic adviser to Commerce National Bank. When adjusted for inflation, the 2010 annual median household income in Ohio of $46,093 was down by $543 from the previous year, and down 15.3 percent from the peak of $54,395 in 2000, according to the census’s Current Population Survey, which was released yesterday. The inflation-adjusted figure hasn’t been lower for Ohio since officials began keeping that record in 1984, census officials said…”
  • Poverty at new heights in Georgia, nation, By Carrie Teegardin and Craig Schneider, September 13, 2011, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Georgia’s poverty rate reached its highest point since 1983 last year, according to Census Bureau figures, as stubbornly high unemployment and the housing bust strained finances. The annual gain was slight, from 18.4 to 18.7 percent, but it translated to 1.83 million Georgians in poverty, 61,000 more than a year earlier. It also left Georgia with the third-highest rate among states. Nationally, the poverty rate climbed more steeply, from 14.3 to 15.1 percent, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. That was the highest national rate since 1993 and put 46.2 million Americans below the poverty level…”

Older Adults and Food Insecurity

Tennessee boomers face growing threat of hunger, By Stephanie Toone, September 11, 2011, The Tennessean: “Therese Marrs has learned the art of stretching a link of smoked sausage, a jar of cheese and a box of macaroni into three meals every week. The 56-year-old Smyrna mother struggles to make the meals come together for her husband and 16-year-old daughter each week, since she was laid off from her quality assurance job at a factory in February. She spends almost every day looking for jobs, but she fears the worst once her unemployment benefits run out in a few months. ‘I’ve learned how to cut my meals. My food stamps only stretch about three weeks, so the food bank helps,’ Marrs said. ‘I’ve been working in factories since I was 15, but I can’t seem to get anybody to hire me.’ Marrs is among the 1 in 6 Tennesseans and 15.6 million older adults who face the threat of hunger as a result of a lingering weak economy in America, according to a recently released AARP report, ‘Food Insecurity Among Older Adults…'”