Looking ahead, poverty seems unlikely to improve in 2011, and there is significant risk it will remain high for some time.
Exacerbating these problems, state and federal governments are retrenching and thereby further slowing economic growth.
Government assistance — both ongoing programs like unemployment insurance and SNAP (formerly called food stamps) and temporary increases in these and other programs enacted in the 2009 Recovery Act — kept poverty from climbing much higher.
The number and share of Americans without health coverage are likely to have hit record highs in 2010.
An increase in the uninsured population would largely reflect the continuing decline in employer-sponsored coverage.
The number of states experiencing significant increases since the start of the recession in the percentage of their population that is uninsured is likely to have grown further in 2010.
The uninsured rate will remain disproportionately high among Latinos, African Americans, young adults, people living in the South and West, and households with incomes under $25,000.
Public health insurance programs, particularly Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, are likely to have offset much or all of the loss of insurance among children that resulted from continued erosion of employer-based coverage.