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Census Bureau report: Poverty, Income and Health Insurance

Census Bureau report: Poverty, Income and Health Insurance

The US Census Bureau has released the latest income, poverty and health insurance statistics.

Summary of Key Findings

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today 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 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.

This information covers the first full calendar year after the December 2007-June 2009 recession. See section on the historical impact of recessions.

A power point of the findings in the report is here.

The New York Times from AP summarizes:

The Census Bureau reports the number of Americans in poverty jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, a 27-year high.

About 46.2 million people, or nearly 1 in 6, were in poverty. That’s up from 43.6 million, or 14.3 percent, in 2009. It was the highest level since 1983.

The number of people lacking health insurance increased to 49.9 million, a new high after revisions were made to 2009 figures. Losses were due mostly to working-age Americans who lost employer-provided insurance in the weak economy. Main provisions of the health overhaul don’t take effect until 2014.

The statistics released Tuesday cover 2010, when U.S. unemployment averaged 9.6 percent, up from 9.3 percent the previous year.

The median — or midpoint — household income was $49,445, a 2.3 decline from 2009.

Justin Wolfers is tweeting the Census Report.

Josh Barro is making the point that the Census measure of income excludes nonpecuniary benefits you get from your employer. Employers are paying the median more in salary and benefits than in 1997. Up for debate is whether the value of that median package makes you better off than in 1997 — the cost of health care is up, but so is the quality.

BBC reports here

More from the New York Times:

That figure represented 15.1 percent of the population, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, and 11.7 percent at the beginning of the decade in 2001. The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,113.

And in new signs of economic distress among the middle class, median household incomes adjusted for inflation declined by 2.3 percent in 2010 from the previous year to $49,400. That was 7 percent less than the peak of $53,252 in 1999.

The annual report by the Census Bureau offered a portrait of the American economy one year into the economic recovery. Its findings, which included figures for poverty, median income and the number of uninsured Americans, were bleaker than many economists expected and reinforced the worry that the economy has a long way to go before middle-class families feel any improvement.

“A full year into recovery, there were no signs of it affecting the well-being of a typical American family,” said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard. “By late 2010, the economy was sort of dead in the water, and that’s where it’s remained.”

Median household income fell across all working-age categories, but was sharpest among the youngest Americans, ages 15 to 24, who experienced a decline of 9 percent.

“That’s not about the poor and unemployed, that’s full time, year round,” Professor Danziger said. “The median, full-time male worker has made no progress on average.”

The recession continued to push Americans, particularly young people, to double up in households with friends and family.

The group of 25-to-34-year-olds experienced a 25 percent rise in living at home in the period between 2007, when the recession began, and 2011. Of that group, nearly half were living below the poverty line, when their parents’ incomes were excluded.

“We’re risking a new underclass,” said Timothy Smeeding, director of the Institute for Research and Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “Young, less educated adults, mainly men, can’t support their children and form stable families because they are jobless.”

More Americans fell into deep poverty, defined as less than half the official poverty line, or about $11,000, with the ranks of that group increasing to 20.5 million, or about 6.7 percent of the population.

Poverty also swallowed more children, with about 22 percent of all children living below the poverty line, up from 20.7 percent in 2009.

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tgflux

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.

Meanwhile, w/ all the Republican Presidential candidates racing to be the first to "Repeal Obamacare", the Tea Party crowd CHEERS letting the uninsured die. Lord have mercy!

JC Fisher

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