U.S. Data Show one in eight Americans in poverty
WASHINGTON – In the world’s biggest economy one in eight Americans and almost one in four blacks lived in poverty last year, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Tuesday, releasing a figure virtually unchanged from 2004.
The survey also showed 15.9 percent of the population, or 46.6 million, had no health insurance, up from 15.6 percent in 2004 and the fifth increase in a row.
It was the first year since President George W. Bush took office in 2001 that the poverty rate did not increase. As in past years, the figures showed poverty especially concentrated among blacks and Hispanics.
In all, some 37 million Americans lived below the poverty line, defined as having an annual income below around $10,000 for an individual or $20,000 for a family of four.
The last decline in poverty was in 2000, the final year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, when it fell to 11.3 percent.
“It shows that we are spending more money than ever on anti-poverty programs and we haven’t done anything to reduce poverty,” said Michael Tanner of CATO Institute, a free market think tank in Washington.
Around a quarter of blacks and 21.8 percent of Hispanics were living in poverty. Among whites, the rate edged down to 8.3 percent from 8.7 percent in 2004.
“Among African Americas the problem correlates primarily to the inner-city and single mothers,” said Tanner, adding that blacks also suffer disproportionately from poor education and lower quality jobs.
Black median income, at $30,858, was only 61 percent of the median for whites.
Some 17.6 percent of children under 18 and one in five of those under 6 were in poverty, higher than for any other age group.
Real median household income rose by 1.1 percent between to $46,326 from $45,817 — its first increase since 1999.
The figures contained wide regional variations, ranging from a median household income of $61,672 in New Jersey to $32,938 for Mississippi.
Major cities with the highest proportions of poor people included Cleveland with 32.4 percent and Detroit with 31.4 percent under the poverty line.