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Census: In 2011, Number Of Poor Americans Increased

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
September 20, 2012

The United States Census just released its yearly American Community Survey, which uses a sample of the U.S. population to provide information on everything from disability to race and ethnicity.

It’s a lot of data, so analysis of it will trickle in throughout the day. We’ll share with you highlights on three important facets:

– The number of Americans living in poverty grew to 15.9 percent in 2011. It was 15.3 in 2010. That means that 48.5 million Americans had an income below the poverty level.

The Census reports:

“This was the fourth consecutive increase in the poverty rate, but the percentage point increase between 2010 and 2011 was smaller than the change between 2008 and 2009, and between 2009 and 2010.”

– Young Americans are one of the first to feel the effects of the Affordable Care Act, which is known colloquially as Obamacare.

According to the Census, once young Americans aged 19 to 25 could be added to their parents’ plans, there was a 3.5 percent increase in the number insured.

The Census compared that number to to those aged 26 to 29, who saw a decline of almost 1 percent in the number of those insured during the same period.

– Household incomes continue to fall.

“Real median household income in the United States fell between the 2010 ACS and the 2011 ACS, decreasing by 1.3 percent from $51,144 to $50,502,” the Census reports.

Update at 6:45 a.m. ET, Sept. 20. On Morning Edition:

William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C., tells NPR’s Richard Gonzales that even though the poverty rate edged higher and incomes edged lower, “there’s at least a hint that we’ve hit bottom in this post-recession malaise.”

Frey says that because “we’re going down at a slower pace.” [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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