The poverty numbers you should worry about
The 2009 Census numbers are out, and the news is about as grim as we expected. Poverty jumped to 14.3 percent, the number of people without health-care insurance broke 50 million for the very first time and median household income fell by 0.7 percent -- a fall that probably looks a lot worse if you break it out by income brackets.
On the bright side, things weren't as bad as they could have been, and they're going to get better. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the original stimulus kept about 6.2 million families out of poverty. And the health-care reform law we passed earlier this year will turn our 50 million uninsured into 18 million uninsured within a decade. So: Progress!
But I want to draw your attention to the scariest numbers in the release, even though they're not from this year. Behold one of my least favorite graphs:
We've seen a big jump in the poverty rate in the past two years, of course, but we also saw a mild increase in the years before that. Between 2001 and 2007, the poverty rate increased from 11.7 percent to 12.5 percent. But the economy grew in every one of those years. This was the first period since we began keeping records in which the economy expanded but poverty went up -- usually, economic expansions bring the poverty rate down. It's more evidence that the pre-crisis "normal" was an economy that wasn't working very well for a lot of people, even when it was growing.
September 16, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Blue Sky series: The anonymous hedge-fund manager's plan
Next: Gray's D.C.
Posted by: tuber | September 16, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: peterg73 | September 16, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BHeffernan1 | September 16, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Beagle1 | September 16, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JGBellHimself | September 16, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MiltonRecht | September 16, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JGBellHimself | September 16, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | September 16, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | September 16, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WHOOSONPHIRST | September 17, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse