As our statement on Tuesday’s Census Bureau report notes, a key measure of inequality known as the Gini index was tied for its highest level on record in 2012, further evidence of worsening inequality.
Today’s Census Bureau health insurance coverage data do not reveal much about the impact of health reform. That’s because the Census data reflect the number of people with and without health insurance coverage in 2012, but health reform’s major coverage expansion provisions will not take effect until 2014. But, anyone examining the Census data should keep the following in mind:
The shares of the nation’s income going to each of the bottom 60 percent of households in 2012 remained at 2011’s record low levels in data that go back to 1967, today’s Census Bureau report shows. The share going to the top 20 percent was statistically unchanged at last year’s record highs (see graph).
The share of Americans without health insurance fell for a second straight year, the Census Bureau announced today. The data suggest that gains in children’s coverage and private coverage among the non-elderly, as well as greater enrollment in Medicare, are the key contributors.
SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) lifted 4 million people above the official poverty line in 2012, according to new data that the Census Bureau released today. That’s the highest level on record (see chart). (Census doesn’t adjust its data for population growth, but we did and confirmed that the share of the population that SNAP lifted out of poverty also stood at a record high.)
The Census Bureau’s estimates of the number of Americans with and without health insurance in 2012 don’t come out until tomorrow, but other data and historical trends provide clues to what they will show, our report explains. Here are four things to look for.