U.S. Census Bureau Reports Record Number Living in Poverty, Declines in Pay and Health Insurance Coverage

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that an estimated 46.2 million people, 15.1% of the population, living in poverty. It is the largest number in the 52 years that Census Bureau has been estimating the poverty rate in the U.S.

Restaurant kitchen worker

Real wages declined, hitting workers in lower-wage jobs, like food service, the hardest.

The real benefits of health care reform won’t kick until 2014. Meanwhile, nearly 50 million Americans, 16.3% of the population, are without health insurance.

There is no relief on the household income front. The Census bureau reports that ince 2007, the year prior to the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4% and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recessionSince 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999, prior to the 2001.

Summary of Key Findings

 

     The U.S. Census Bureau announced today, Sept. 14, 2011, that in 2010, median household income declined, the poverty rate increased and the percentage without health insurance coverage was not statistically different from the previous year.

     Real median household income in the United States in 2010 was $49,445, a 2.3 percent decline from the 2009 median.

     The nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009 ─ the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were

Median Household Income – U.S. Census Bureau Data
2009 2010 Percent change in real median income
(in 2010 dollars)
Region
U.S.
$50,599 $49,445 -2.3
Northeast
$53,949 $53,283 -1.2
Midwest.
$49,684 $48,445 -2.5
South
$46,368 $45,492 -1.9
West
$54,722 $53,142 -2.9

46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 ─ the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

     The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010, while the percentage without coverage −16.3 percent – was not statistically different from the rate in 2009.

Historical Impact of Recessions

Since 2010 represents the first full calendar year after the recession that ended in June 2009, one can compare changes in income, poverty and health insurance coverage between 2009 and 2010 with changes during the first year after the end of other recessions:

  • Median household income declined the first full year following the December 2007 to June 2009 recession, as well as in the first full year following three other recessions (March 2001 to November 2001, January 1980 to July 1980 and December 1969 to November 1970). However, household income increased the first full year following the November 1973 to March 1975 recession, and the changes following the July 1990 to March 1991 and July 1981 to November 1982 recessions were not statistically significant.
  • The poverty rate and the number of people in poverty increased in the first calendar year following the end of the last three recessions. For the recessions that ended in 1961 and 1975, the poverty rate decreased in the next full calendar year.
  •      After the most recent recession, there was no significant difference in the uninsured rate during the first full year after the recession. However, in the year following the recessions that ended in 1991 and 2001, the uninsured rate increased.

Income

  • Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999. The percentages are not statistically different from each another.

Poverty

  • The poverty rate in 2010 was the highest since 1993 but was 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. Since 2007, the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percentage points.
  • In 2010, the family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 11.7 percent and 9.2 million, respectively, up from 11.1 percent and 8.8 million in 2009.
  • The poverty rate and the number in poverty increased for both married-couple families (6.2 percent and 3.6 million in 2010 from 5.8 percent and 3.4 million in 2009) and female-householder-with-no-husband-present families (31.6 percent and 4.7 million in 2010 from 29.9 percent and 4.4 million in 2009). For families with a male householder no wife present, the poverty rate and the number in poverty were not statistically different from 2009 (15.8 percent and 880,000 in 2010).
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