For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Donte Donald, firstname.lastname@example.org 202-775-8810
Poverty and income trends continue to paint bleak picture, while safety net offsets loss of ESI
The 2011 poverty and income data released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau are yet another reminder of the persistent weight of the Great Recession on families in the United States. Although the Great Recession officially ended in the summer of 2009, the labor market continued deteriorating through early 2010 and essentially stagnated through 2011, seeing just enough job growth to keep up with population growth. Between 2010 and 2011, the median man and median woman working full-time full-year saw their earnings drop by 2.5 percent as persistent high unemployment hurt earnings growth. Over the same time, the income of the top 5 percent grew by 5.1 percent, while the middle-fifth (the heart of the middle class) saw a drop of 1.7 percent. The poverty rate declined from 15.1 percent in 2010 to 15.0 percent in 2011, while the number of people living below the poverty line held steady at 46.2 million.
In a separate analysis of Census data on health coverage, EPI economist Elise Gould analyzes the new health insurance data, which shows the number of uninsured Americans under age 65 fell from 49.2 million in 2010 to 47.9 million in 2011. When including those 65 and older, the number of uninsured Americans fell to 48.6 million in 2011. Gould explained that although employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) declined for the eleventh year in a row, provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and crucial safety net programs like Medicaid/SCHIP helped keep the total share of people without insurance from rising in 2011.
EPI experts also posted analysis of the data to Working Economics, the EPI blog:
By the numbers: New Census Bureau data on poverty, income, and health insurance coverage by Elise Gould and Heidi Shierholz
Hispanic and single-black-father families see declines in poverty by Algernon Austin