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

Census Report: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2008

  • Poverty rate rose in 2008, Census finds, By Erik Eckholm, September 10, 2009, New York Times: “In the recession last year, the nation’s poverty rate climbed to 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Census Bureau. The report also documented a decline in employer-provided health insurance and in coverage for adults. The rise in the poverty rate, to the highest level since 1997, portends even larger increases this year, which has registered far higher unemployment than in 2008, economists said…”
  • Census: Income fell sharply last year, By Dennis Cauchon and Richard Wolf, September 10, 2009, USA Today: “Household income fell sharply and poverty rates rose in 2008 as the severe effects of the recession took their toll on Americans’ finances, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. Median household income dropped 3.6% to $50,303 in 2008, the bureau reported. That was the sharpest drop since at least 1967 and sent income to its lowest point since 1997…”
  • U.S. poverty rate hit 11-year high in 2008, By Don Lee, September 10, 2009, Los Angeles Times: “Reporting from Washington – Showing the scars of the deep recession last year, the nation’s poverty level jumped to an 11-year high, household incomes sank and the number of people without health insurance rose slightly to 46.3 million, the government reported today. The Census Bureau said that median household incomes fell 3.6% from 2007 to $50,303 last year. That was the biggest decline since 1991 and represented millions of job cuts by employers in 2008…”
  • Growth of gov’t insurance outpaces private care, By Hope Yen and Frank Bass (AP), September 10, 2009, Houston Chronicle: “The number of Americans covered by government-sponsored health insurance plans surged to 87.4 million last year – or 29 percent of the U.S. population – amid a fierce, national debate about whether to create a new U.S.-run plan that any American could join. The number of people covered by federal Medicaid, Medicare and military insurance plans was an increase from 83 million in 2007, according to census figures released Thursday. It partially offset the eighth straight year of declines in the percentage of people with employer-provided plans and highlighted the growing role of a government-offered insurance safety net…”
  • Decade of income growth lost, Census report finds, By Carol Morello, September 10, 2009, Washington Post: “The recession has erased an entire decade of growth in household incomes, according to a Census Bureau report released Thursday that also showed more Americans last year were living in poverty and without health insurance. Median household incomes sank 3.6 percent in 2008, to $50,303, and the nation’s poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007. In all, 39.8 million Americans were living in poverty, defined as $22,025 for a family of four. That was the highest number since 1960…”
  • Recession takes heavy toll on U.S., By Conor Dougherty, September 10, 2009, Wall Street Journal: “The recession has slashed families’ earnings, increased poverty and left more people without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau’s annual snapshot of living standards, offering sharp evidence of how much the falling economy has touched Americans of every income and race. The report released Thursday showed median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell 3.6% last year to $50,303, the steepest year-over-year drop since at least 1967. The poverty rate, at 13.2%, was the highest since 1997, while about 700,000 more people were living without health insurance in 2008 than the year before, although the share of the population living without health insurance was about the same…”