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Last Year’s Drop in Poverty Only the Second Since 2000

The decline in the official poverty rate last year from 15.0 percent to 14.5 percent is especially welcome because it follows a decade and a half of mostly rising or stagnant poverty rates, our detailed look at the new Census figures explains.  Before 2013, the official poverty rate fell only once since 2000 (see chart).  Still, at the current rate of progress — which was hampered in 2013 by slow job growth and austerity policies — poverty won’t return to its pre-recession level of 12.5 percent until

Census Data Show Improved Health Coverage in 2013

We’ve posted our full analysis of the Census Bureau’s new data on health coverage, which show that the share and number of Americans with health insurance improved slightly last year.  (Because the results are for 2013, they don’t reflect the coverage gains in 2014 resulting from health reform’s major coverage provisions, which took effect on January 1 — namely, the Medicaid expansion and subsidized marketplace coverage.)

Child Poverty Remains High, But States Can Make a Difference

Update, September 22:  We’ve corrected the map in this post. 

More than half of the states plus the District of Columbia had child poverty rates of 20 percent or higher last year (see map), new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show, and in some states — like New Mexico and Mississippi — poverty affected as many as one in three kids.  Such extensive child poverty unnecessarily damages the prospects of millions of children.

Income Inequality Remains at Historic High, Census Data Show

Income inequality remained near a record high in 2013 by several measures the Census Bureau released earlier this week, with data going back to 1967. The principal Census summary measure of household income inequality, known as the “Gini coefficient,” was not statistically different from the record high in 2012.  And the share of national income that goes to the top fifth of households was 51.0 percent, not statistically different from its record high of 51.1 percent in 2011.

Census Data Show Continued Wide Disparities in Health Coverage

Certain groups of Americans continue to be uninsured at particularly high rates, the new Census Bureau data show.  African Americans and Hispanics, residents of the South and West, adults under age 35, and households with incomes under $50,000 had uninsured rates in 2013 well above the national average of 13.8 percent (see chart).  Hispanics’ 24.3 percent uninsured rate, for example, was nearly twice the national average.

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Families With Children Gained in 2013, But Poverty Still Higher and Incomes Lower Than Pre-Recession

The child poverty rate fell from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013 in the first statistically significant one-year drop in child poverty since 2000, according to new data released by the Census Bureau today.  While the poverty rate among children remained well above the 2000 level, when it was 16.2 percent, the improvement in 2013 is welcome news that the economic recovery has finally begun to improve the circumstances of the lowest-income children.

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