Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Nearly 1 in 6 Americans in poverty, Census says By HOPE YEN - Associated Press | AP – 2 hrs 38 mins ago tweet95 Share5 Email Print More slideshows Carmakers look past economy woes at Frankfurt show 102 photos - 8 hrs ago Obama's jobs speech 17 photos - Thu, Sep 8, 2011 Hewlett-Packard Co. 50 photos - 7 hrs ago See latest photos » WASHINGTON (AP) — The ranks of the nation's poor have swelled to a record 46.2 million — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — as the prolonged pain of the recession leaves millions still struggling and out of work. And the number without health insurance has reached 49.9 million, the most in over two decades. The figures are in a Census Bureau report, released Tuesday, that offers a somber snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for last year when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year. The rate is still 9.1 percent at the start of an election year that's sure to focus on the economy and President Barack Obama's stewardship of it. The overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent, from 14.3 percent the previous year, and the rate from 2007-2010 rose faster than for any similar period since the early 1980s when a crippling energy crisis amid government cutbacks contributed to inflation, spiraling interest rates and unemployment. For last year, the official poverty level was an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four. Measured by total numbers, the 46 million now living in poverty are the most on record dating back to when the census began to track in 1959. The 15.1 percent tied the level of 1993 and was the highest since 1983. Broken down by state, Mississippi had the highest share of poor people, at 22.7 percent, according to calculations by the Census Bureau. It was followed by Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico and Arizona. On the other end of the scale, New Hampshire had the lowest share, at 6.6 percent. The share of Americans without health coverage rose from 16.1 percent to 16.3 percent — or 49.9 million people — according to Census Bureau revisions. The increase was due mostly to continued losses of employer-provided health insurance in the weakened economy. Congress passed a health overhaul last year to address rising numbers of the uninsured. While the main provisions don't take effect until 2014, one aspect taking effect in late 2010 allowed young adults to be covered under their parents' health insurance until age 26. The uninsured rate for adults 18 to 24 actually declined last year, from 29.3 percent to 27.2 percent, noted Brett O'Hara, chief of the Health and Disability Statistics branch at the Census Bureau. That was the only age group that posted a decrease, and he said "the law change certainly could be a factor." For last year, the median — or midpoint — household income was $49,445, down 2.3 percent from 2009. The poor include Nekisha Brooks, 28, of Fort Washington, Md., who lost her job as a customer service representative for AT&T several months ago in a round of layoffs. Raising five young children, she is now on food stamps and partly leaning on friends and family for help. "It's hard on the kids," Brooks said, describing how her family has had to cut back on clothing and restaurant outings. "I've been putting in job applications every day and calling around, from housekeeping to customer service to admin or waitresses, but nobody seems to be hiring right now." Bruce Meyer, a public policy professor at the University of Chicago, cautioned that the worst may be yet to come in poverty levels, citing in part continued rising demand for food stamps this year as well as "staggeringly high" numbers in those unemployed for more than 26 weeks. He noted that more than 6 million people are in the category of long-term unemployed and more likely to fall into poverty, accounting for more than two out of five currently out of work. The latest numbers, which cover Obama's second year in office, offer political fodder for both parties as Obama seeks to push a new $447 billion plan for creating jobs and stimulating the economy. The plan includes a proposed Social Security payroll tax cut and an extension of unemployment benefits. Obama is urging Congress to pay for the new spending largely by increasing taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans have emphatically rejected. According to the report, the gap between the rich and poor widened last year, at least based on some measures. For instance, income fell for the wealthiest — down 1.2 percent to $180,810 for the top 5 percent of households. But the bottom fifth of households — those making $20,000 or less — saw incomes decline 4 percent. Other measures pointed to a longer-term widening of income inequality but with little change in 2010. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau also noted the impact of government safety-net programs on the poor. It estimated that new unemployment benefits passed in 2009 — which gave workers up to 99 weeks of payments after layoffs, and didn't run out for most people until this year — lifted 3.2 million above the poverty line. Social Security kept about 20.3 million — seniors as well as working-age adults receiving disability payments — out of poverty. "If these programs are cut back in the future, poverty rates are likely to rise even more," Meyer said. At the same time, the working-age population — ages 18 to 64 — showed some of the biggest hits in poverty, rising from 12.9 percent to 13.7 percent. Working-age Americans now represent nearly 3 out of 5 poor people and are at the highest level since the 1960s when the war on poverty was launched. Young adults, in particular, struggled. Median income for those ages 15-24 fell 9 percent to $28,322. For those 25-34, nearly 6 million "doubled up" in households with parents and friends to save money, up 25 percent from before the recession. For that group, the poverty rate was at 8.4 percent; but the rate would have risen to 45.3 percent if their parents' incomes weren't taken into account. "It's pretty bad for young people," said Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. "They are cushioning the blow in several ways by living with others and going to school longer, but eventually they will have to enter the labor market and find a very inhospitable place." Last year saw a third year of increases in Americans without health insurance, lifting the total number to the highest since the government began tracking the figures in 1987. The number of people covered by employment-based health plans declined from 170.8 million to 169.3 million, although those losses were partially offset by gains in government health insurance such as Medicaid and Medicare. Other census findings: —Poverty rose among all racial and ethnic groups except Asians. The number of Hispanics in poverty increased from 25.3 percent to 26.6 percent; for blacks it rose from 25.8 percent to 27.4 percent and for Asians it was flat at 12.1 percent. The number of whites in poverty rose from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent. —Child poverty rose from 20.7 percent to 22 percent. —Poverty among people 65 and older was statistically unchanged at 9 percent, after hitting a record low of 8.9 percent in 2009. The official poverty level is based on a government calculation that includes only income before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership. As a result, the official poverty rate takes into account the effects of some stimulus programs passed in 2009, such as unemployment benefits, as well as jobs that were created or saved by government spending. It does not factor in noncash government aid such as tax credits and food stamps. Next month, the government will release new supplemental poverty numbers for the first time that will factor in food stamps and tax credits as well as everyday costs such as commuting. Preliminary census estimates show a decline in child poverty based on the new measure but increases in poverty among working-age Americans as well as those 65 and older due to rising out-of-pocket medical costs. ___ Online: www.census.gov @yahoonews on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook Editors' Picks A combination photo of an area at Ofunato port in April 4, 2011 and September 9, 2011.slideshow Six months after the tsunami Happy Feet the penguin begins long swim homeslideshow Contact lost with Happy Feet Great Outdoorsslideshow PDN's Great Outdoors photo contest Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the trophy after winning the men's championship match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)slideshow Djokovic wins U.S. Open ALTERNATIVE CROP OF XAP104 - Miss Angola Leila Lopes is crowned Miss Universe 2011 by Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, of Mexico, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday Sept. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)slideshow Miss Angola crowned Miss Universe Duchess of Cambridgeslideshow Fashion experts: Kate's no trendsetter Explore Related Content Census Bureau to Announce Findings for Income, Poverty and Health … Working-age adults make up record share of US poor Queens Census numbers don't add up U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: Grandparents Day 2011: … U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for September 4 U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for August 27 Census Bureau Director to Provide Update on Census Bureau Op … U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for September 6 Census Bureau Releases New Local-Level Demographic Information … U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for August 24 U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for September 7 U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for August 25 U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for September 2 U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for August 28 Top Stories » Obama: Congress has no reason to wait on jobs bill International alarm over euro zone crisis grows Taliban attack across Kabul, target U.S. Embassy Nearly 1 in 6 Americans in poverty, Census says Jailed Americans to be freed soon, says Iranian leader Perry facing new criticism for Texas vaccine order 8-year-old autistic boy found by searchers in CA Most Popular Audience at tea party debate cheers leaving uninsured to die Perry withstands scrutiny, spirited exchanges with Republican rivals, in debate Republicans block Senate disaster aid bill Obama would hike taxes to pay for his jobs bill Census: US poverty rate swells to nearly 1 in 6 Ed Henry says people ‘freaked out’ over normal questions from Fox News Today on Yahoo! 1 - 4 of 39 A star-studded concert event A star-studded concert event Dried spices that are a waste of money Dried spices that are a waste of money Cheerleaders' skirts too short for school Cheerleaders' skirts too short for school Debate crowd cheers letting uninsured die Debate crowd cheers letting uninsured die All Comments Shared On Facebook My Comments Zubaida says... Comment Guidelines your avatar Please Enter a Comment Manage Updates Your updates will be shared through Yahoo! Updates based on your preferences. Your update will be shared to Facebook based on your Facebook preferences. Start sharing your updates on Yahoo! to Twitter based on your preferences. Add Twitter 1,002 comments Popular Now Newest Oldest Most Replied Vernon 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Vernon 12 seconds ago Report Abuse Slaughter TeflonDon for being an idiot. Reply - 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 - 21 seconds ago Report Abuse Vote Ron Paul in 2012. A rich person who really understands. He once went to bed hungry in 1954. Now he understands the common folk. Yes, he became rich miking a Congressional seat for over 21 years, but what other rich person has his heart. (the deception of democracy is the vote) Reply mytwocents 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 mytwocents 32 seconds ago Report Abuse I'm in my mid 40s. Worked the 60 hour work week all my working life. Chose a home in a low tax area and paid it off. Have several acres, garden, septic, well and an alternative heating system. Nice getting that $6 a month gas bill even when it's below zero. ... More Reply JR 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 JR about a minute ago Report Abuse Last week the Cons cheered Perry when he bragged about how many people in Texas they execute. This week the Cons shouted "let him die" Next debate, there will be both dog fighting and cock fighting to keep them entertained. Reply bye bye obooba 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 bye bye obooba about a minute ago Report Abuse @jeanio: my income is below the poverty level. i have credit cards, utility bills, rent and medical ins. i live day to day but your information about republicans must be wrong because i AM one and i still support the majority, but not all, of their policies. Reply Guess Who 2Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 Guess Who about a minute ago Report Abuse Success , " Trickle Up Poverty Is Working "...........Obama has again succeeded........ Reply wendy 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 wendy 2 minutes ago Report Abuse that number will rise if the muslim kenyan stays in charge Reply Sean Sarto 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Sean Sarto 2 minutes ago Report Abuse I would say that population is becoming a weapon against the meritocracy of the USA.The wealthy (even the middle classes..and basically whites) are being maligned as undeserving by a growing number of unfettered birth rates and illegal immigrants. Reply TeflonDon 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 TeflonDon 2 minutes ago Report Abuse Slaughter all the fat people and send their meat to the starving countries. Reply G. Robert 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 G. Robert 3 minutes ago Report Abuse I smell an up-rising....no, wait..Americans don't have the backbone..roll over Americans and put that #$%$ in the air cause "THEY" ain't done !! Reply Max 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Max 3 minutes ago Report Abuse America has had Free Medical and benefits for decades. It's called Medicaid, Food Stamps, WIC, Welfare, etc. All Americans who are really poor get's these benefits. If you can't get one or all of these then you are not really poor. Reply Kenyan Kancer 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Kenyan Kancer 3 minutes ago Report Abuse O-blivious and his Active Empoverishment plan is working as planned. Reply JR 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 JR 3 minutes ago Report Abuse The GOP tells us that we need to be more competitive in the world market... TRANSLATION: We need to get middle class wages down to $0.95 per hour, with no benefits! Reply TeflonDon 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 TeflonDon 4 minutes ago Report Abuse No #$%$ Shylock! Tell us something that we dont know... Reply Vernon 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 Vernon 4 minutes ago Report Abuse Imas,I hope all the poor fat people sit on your head and kill you #$%$ bag. Reply JohnF 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 JohnF 4 minutes ago Report Abuse This is the "hope and change" people wanted. And boy did we get it. Instead of prosperity we have debt. Instead of jobs and productive citizens, we have people who don't know when or if they're going to put food on the table. Instead of investing in the company, Business owners are looking over... More Reply Amos 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down2 Amos 5 minutes ago Report Abuse The audience at the RED RIGHT Presidential Candidate debate would wish the poor to die. Ignorant Christian losers. Reply Donald 2Thumbs UpThumbs Down1 Donald 6 minutes ago Report Abuse I have to say, even in some of the poorest families I've seen, those using food stamps and every government benefit they can get their hands on, the kids all have cell phones fancier than mine with the expensive downloadable apps, and frightfully expensive handheld electronic games, which they play... More Reply JR 0Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 JR 6 minutes ago Report Abuse The ONLY reason the Republicans want to build a fence is because they are afraid Americans will be fleeing to Mexico in droves when their economic policies really take off!!!! Reply matt 1Thumbs UpThumbs Down0 matt 6 minutes ago Report Abuse This number will rise from now on, the growing number of retirees will boost this number every single year. Remember they dont count assets, capital gains or home ownership. So all these retirees that have homes paid for and earn a social security check are counted as living in poverty, even though... 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