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

Editorials: Census Poverty Report

  • A snapshot of poverty in the U.S., Editorial, September 16, 2012, Los Angeles Times: “A new Census Bureau report confirms that the slowly rising tide of the U.S. economy hasn’t lifted all boats. The 20% of Americans with the highest incomes captured an even larger share of the earnings in 2011, while the rest collected the same share or less. The widening income inequality is disturbing, but as the report shows, things could have been considerably worse. Without such safety net programs as unemployment benefits and food stamps, millions more families would have fallen into poverty…”
  • Census data confirm that the middle class is in dire shape, Editorial, September 16, 2012, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The Census Bureau reported last week that middle-class income is continuing to shrink, top-tier incomes are growing and those at the bottom remained about the same. It wasn’t shocking news, confirming what dozens of independent studies have shown. What does come as a surprise is what politicians regard as middle income. On Friday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said ‘middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.’ That’s about where President Barack Obama has drawn the line, too. He wants to raise the income tax rate on ‘the wealthy’ who earn more than that. A better place to begin the discussion is at true middle income, where half earn more and half earn less. The Census Bureau puts median household income for 2011, adjusted for inflation, at $50,054. That’s down $780 in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2010…”
  • Census shows middle-class squeeze, By Dale McFeatters, September 17, 2012, Detroit News: “It’s a rare government economic report that brings no comfort to either side in a presidential election campaign. But such was the case with a U.S. Census Bureau report this week showing that from 2010 to 2011 income inequality increased 1.6 percent, the biggest one-year increase in 20 years, reflecting a long-term trend that now sees 50 percent of all income nationwide going to the top 20 percent of households…”