Monday, September 14, 2009

Poverty on the Rise

From Catholic Charities USA:

On September 10, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on poverty and insurance coverage in the United States. The new data shows that in 2008, the number of Americans living in poverty increased by nearly 2.6 million to 39.8 million (13.2 percent). The poverty rate increased for children under age 18 to 19 percent in 2008, up from 18 percent in 2007. Real median household income in the United States fell 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, from $52,163 to $50,303. This breaks three years of annual income increases and coincides with the recession that started in December 2007.

The number of uninsured individuals rose to 46.3 million, an increase of 600,000 from 2007. The number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 202 to 201 million, while the number covered by government health insurance climbed from 83 million to 87 million. The number of individuals covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 177 million to 176 million. One positive sign in the new data is that the number of uninsured children declined from 8 million in 2007 to 7 million in 2008.
The 39.8 million individuals living in poverty in 2008 represents the highest number since 1960. While the new poverty statistics released by the Census Bureau reveal the number of people who were living in poverty through 2008, it does not tell the true picture of economic hardship being faced by the millions of workers who have lost their jobs in the eight months of 2009.

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