CBPP President Robert Greenstein has issued a statement on the Census Bureau’s 2012 figures on poverty, income, and health insurance coverage. Here’s the opening:
The new Census figures demonstrate that the painfully slow and uneven economic recovery has yet to produce significant gains for Americans in the bottom and middle of the economic scale, with the poverty rate remaining unchanged at a high 15.0 percent in 2012 — the 11th year in the last 12 that poverty worsened or failed to improve — and median household income remaining unchanged at $51,017, some 8.3 percent — or $4,600 — below its level in 2007, before the recession.
While income inequality didn’t worsen under the Census measures, it essentially remained at record levels. A key Census measure of inequality (known as the “Gini coefficient”) was tied for its highest level on record (with data back to 1967). The share of national income going to the bottom 20 percent of households — who received just 3.2 percent of the income in the nation in 2012 — and the share going to the bottom 60 percent (who received 25.9 percent of the national income) both tied for the lowest shares on record, with data back to 1967.
The one piece of good news was a decline, from 15.7 to 15.4 percent, in the percentage of Americans who were uninsured, marking the second straight year of progress on this front.