Census Poverty Data Released: Economic Crisis Hits the Poor the Hardest

On September 13, 2011 the Census Bureau released their annual  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States report detailing the latest poverty data and statistics from the Current Population Survey. The number of people in poverty has risen to 46.2 million—the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been pub-lished. The official poverty rate rose again in 2010, for the third consecutive year, up to 15.1%. The poverty rate is the highest it’s been since 1993 and since 2007 the poverty rate has increased from 12.5% to 15.1%. All of these stats create a picture of nation that is struggling and desperately needing the services for low-income people that we as a Network are providing.

The continuing rise in the poverty rate is only the latest measure indicating that millions of Americans are in the midst of difficult situations. For 30 of the past 31 months, the national unemployment rate has been at or above 8.8% and some states have experienced as high as 14.9%. Also, the real median household income has decreased 6.4% since 2007 and is down to $49,445. This, however, only tells part of the story. The most vulnerable, families whose household income falls in the bottom 10% nationally, saw their media income decrease 6.9% since 2007 and 12.1% since 1999 down to $11,904.

The needs are great, but the impacts are being felt the hardest by children. The poverty rate for children rose 1.3 percentage points up to 22%, its highest level since 1993 with 16.4 million children in households below the poverty line. This is also the highest number of children in poverty since 1962. Black children saw the largest rate increase to 39%, up 3.4 percentage points in the past year, while the Hispanic and White child poverty rates were 35% and 12.4% respectively.

These data are detailing the great economic challenges in our country and the increased needs in our communities. NASCSP encourages the CSBG Network to become educated on this new poverty data and use it to communicate the needs within your Networks. In a time when our work is seen as irrelevant and slated  for cuts, we can show how essential our services are to the community.

To find more information, please visit: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html.