The number of people living in poverty in America rose by nearly 4 million to 43.6 million in 2009 —the largest figure in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available — the Census Bureau said Thursday.At the same time, another report says the numbers don't accurately reflect the poverty rate. Given that a single person who makes $11,000 is considered poor, it would seem there are far many more people in poverty. Who could live on $11,000? The poverty threshold for family of four is $21,954. The median household income is a more optimistic measure. In 2009, it was $49,777, same as 2008. But that probably reflects that the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer. Here is some more perspective on the report.
The bureau said in a statement that the official poverty rate was 14.3 percent, or 1 in 7 of Americans, the highest proportion of the population since 1994. msnbc
The Census offers some interesting information on healthcare coverage:
The number of people with health insurance decreased from 255.1 million in 2008 to 253.6 million in 2009. Since 1987, the first year that comparable health insurance data were collected, this is the first year that the number of people with health insurance has decreased.
Between 2008 and 2009, the number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 201.0 million to 194.5 million, while the number covered by government health insurance climbed from 87.4 million to 93.2 million. The number covered by employment-based health insurance declined from 176.3 million to 169.7 million. The number with Medicaid coverage increased from 42.6 million to 47.8 million.
Comparable health insurance data were first collected in 1987. The percentage of people covered by private insurance (63.9 percent) is the lowest since that year, as is the percentage of people covered by employment-based insurance (55.8 percent). In contrast, the percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs (30.6 percent) is the highest since 1987, as is the percentage covered by Medicaid (15.7 percent).
In 2009, 10.0 percent (7.5 million) of children under 18 were without health insurance. Neither estimate is significantly different from the corresponding 2008 estimate.
The uninsured rate for children in poverty (15.1 percent) was greater than the rate for all children.
In 2009, the uninsured rates decreased as household income increased: from 26.6 percent for those in households with annual incomes less than $25,000 to 9.1 percent in households with incomes of $75,000 or more.