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

Day: September 12, 2012

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2011

  • Poverty leveled off last year, even as incomes dropped, By Sabrina Tavernise, September 12, 2012, New York Times: “The share of Americans in poverty in 2011 remained unchanged for the first time in four years, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday, surprising economists who had expected the rate to rise yet again. Still, the report showed a decline in the incomes of middle-class Americans, offering a reminder that many American families have yet to experience gains from the weak economic recovery…”
  • Census: Middle class shrinks to an all-time low, By Carol Morello, September 12, 2012, Washington Post: “The middle class lost ground again last year, falling to an all-time low in their share of how much income they take in, new census data released Wednesday showed. People with incomes between $20,263 and $62,434 collectively earned less than 24 percent of all income in 2011, even though they made up 40 percent of the population. The dip was part of a long, steady decline dating back to at least the 1960s, when the middle class shared 29 percent of all income. In contrast, the census data shows, the bottom fifth held its own as the poverty level flattened out, while the top fifth increased its share to half of all income. The top 5 percent gained the most income, rising almost 5 percent in a single year…”
  • US poverty rate at 15 percent in 2011; record numbers of poor persist, By Hope Yen (AP), September 12, 2012, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: “The nation’s poverty rate remained stuck at a record level last year, while household income dropped and the number of people who don’t have health insurance declined. A Census Bureau report released Wednesday provided a mixed picture of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2011 as the nation enters the final phase of a presidential election campaign in which the economy is the No. 1 issue. The overall poverty rate stood at 15 percent, statistically unchanged from the 15.1 percent rate in the previous year. Experts had expected a rise in the poverty rate for the fourth straight year, but unemployment benefits and modest job gains helped stave that off, the bureau reported. For last year, the official poverty line was an annual income of $23,021 for a family of four…”
  • Median income falls, but so does poverty, By Tami Luhby, September 12, 2012, CNN Money: “Middle-class families continued to suffer in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the poverty rate fell slightly, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday. Median household income fell to $50,054 in 2011, down 1.5% from a year earlier. Income inequality widened, as the highest income echelon experienced a jump, while those in the middle saw incomes shrink. Meanwhile, the national poverty rate eased to 15.0% in 2011, down slightly from 15.1% the year before. Some 46.2 million people fell below the poverty line last year, and one in five children were poor…”
  • U.S. poverty rate holds, but household incomes dip again, By Don Lee, September 12, 2012, Los Angeles Times: “Several years of rising poverty in the United States came to a halt in 2011 as more workers found full-time work, but overall household incomes on average continued a decade-long slide and inequality rose further last year, the government said Wednesday. The Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage surprised analysts, who were projecting another tick up in the poverty rate, given the still-high unemployment rate and significant layoffs last year at local government offices. But the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line dipped to 15%, from 15.1% in 2010, a change considered statistically insignificant by the Census Bureau…”