The Common Good

Census Bureau Findings: Poverty Rate Holds at Increased Levels

Source: Taylor Marsh
Date: September 12, 2012

Today’s release by the U.S. Census Bureau, “2011 Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Estimates From the Current Population Survey,” had some good news, in that the poverty levels are statistically unchanged. The not good news is that the level at which poverty is holding is that to which it significantly increased over the three previous years. As HuffPo headlines it: “U.S. Poverty: Census Finds 46.2 Million Impoverished As Median Income Drops.”

You can find the complete report at From the “webinar”:

Today we are releasing national income, poverty, and health insurance coverage estimates from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) of the Current Population Survey (or CPS).

Let me begin by summarizing the main findings from each subject area.

Real median household income in 2011 declined 1.5 percent from 2010;

The 2011 official poverty rate was 15.0 percent and the number of people in poverty was 46.2 million, neither statistically different from last year; and

The percentage and number of people without health insurance coverage decreased to 15.7 percent, or 48.6 million, in 2011, down from 16.3 percent and 50.0 million in 2010.