Thursday, September 15, 2011

"U.S. poverty totals hit a 50-year high"

The LA Times carries the latest census data:

In a grim portrait of a nation in economic turmoil, the government reported that the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million — the most in at least half a century — as 1 million more Americans went without health insurance and household incomes fell sharply.

The poverty rate for all Americans rose in 2010 for the third consecutive year, matching the 15.1% figure in 1993 and pushing many more young adults to double up or return to their parents' home to avoid join

The definition of poverty is always controversial, especially whether you measure it in relative or absolute terms. You can have a big screen plasma tv and a late model car on the census definition and still be "poor". But there is no way this is anything but terrible news.

And median male income is at the same level as 33 years ago, says the NYT:

According to the Census Bureau, average American income fell by 2.3% last year, dropping it to $49,445. This is 7.1% below its 1999 high point. For men, the story is even worse. The average man's income fell even further. After adjusting for inflation, men now earn roughly what they did in 1978.

Population has risen, of course. But after nearing half a century of the Great Society, we have more poverty than ever.

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