Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2012

  • Poor in America: A record 46.5 million below poverty line; rate remains stuck at 15 percent, By Hope Yen (AP), September 17, 2013, Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune: “The nation’s poverty rate remained stuck at 15 percent last year despite America’s slowly reviving economy, a discouraging lack of improvement for the record 46.5 million poor and an unwelcome benchmark for President Barack Obama’s recovery plans…”
  • Median income and poverty rate hold steady, Census Bureau finds, By Annie Lowrey, September 17, 2013, New York Times: “Last year, for the first time in half a decade, median household income did not fall and poverty did not rise, the Census Bureau said Tuesday in the release of its major annual report on poverty, insurance and earnings. The report depicts an economy that has failed to improve the lot of most households and left about 46.5 million Americans living in poverty in 2012…”
  • Census Bureau reports no change in income and poverty nationally; drop in uninsured rate, By Rich Exner, September 17, 2013, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Median household income and poverty levels were largely unchanged in the United States last year, while the share of people without health insurance declined, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. In Ohio, median household income fell from $44,648 in 2011 to $44,375, the bureau estimated. More precise state estimates will be provided later in the week…”
  • 15% of Americans living in poverty, By Steve Hargreaves, September 17, 2013, CNNMoney: “Years after the Great Recession ended, 46.5 million Americans are still living in poverty, according to a Census Bureau report released Tuesday. Meanwhile, median household income fell slightly to $51,017 a year in 2012, down from $51,100 in 2011 — a change the Census Bureau does not consider statistically significant. But taking a wider view reveals a larger problem: Income has tumbled since the recession hit, and is still 8.3% below where it was in 2007…”
  • Poverty rates, median income unchanged in 2012, despite recovery, By Don Lee, September 17, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “Reflecting the sluggish economic recovery, the nation’s poverty rate remained stuck at a near generation-high of 15% last year, while the average income of American households continued to stagnate, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. The number of people living in poverty stood at 46.5 million in 2012, representing 15% of the country’s population for the second year in a row. In 2010, the poverty rate reached 15.1%, the peak of the recent business cycle…”
  • Census: Household incomes holding steady, By Tim Mullaney, September 17, 2013, USA Today: “Americans’ household incomes still haven’t caught up to where they were before the recession, but they’ve stopped losing ground to inflation, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. Median household incomes after inflation stabilized in 2012, following two annual declines, the bureau reported. Adjusted for inflation, median household income was $51,017 last year, not statistically different from the 2011 median of $51,100…”
  • Racked by recession and soft recovery, U.S. incomes finally stabilize, By Neil Shah, September 17, 2013, Wall Street Journal: “The income of the typical U.S. family stabilized last year for the first time since the recession, according to the Census Bureau’s latest annual snapshot of U.S. living standards. That follows four years of large declines that pushed incomes to their lowest levels in nearly two decades…”
  • Percentage of Americans lacking health coverage falls again, By Robert Pear, September 17, 2013, New York Times: “For the second year in a row, the proportion of Americans without health insurance declined in 2012, even though real household income and the poverty rate were not significantly different from their 2011 levels, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. In 2012, the bureau said, 15.4 percent of people were uninsured, down from 15.7 percent in 2011. The number of uninsured people, 48 million, was not statistically different from the estimate of 48.6 million in 2011…”

State Minimum Wages

Many states look to raise minimum wage, By Pamela M. Prah, September 17, 2013, Stateline: “California’s recent decision to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016—a higher minimum rate than any other state has now—may add momentum to the drive for higher hourly rates in at least eight other states in 2014. New Jersey could become the fifth state this year to increase its state minimum wage if voters approve a measure on Nov. 5 that would boost the hourly rate by $1, to $8.25. In states as varied as Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts and South Dakota, advocates are pushing to put minimum wage hikes on state ballots in 2014. Meanwhile, elected officials are leading the charge in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Food stamp cuts could send more to Minn. food shelves, Associated Press, September 16, 2013, Crookston Times: “Officials and advocates for the needy in central Minnesota say cuts to the food stamp program could have harsh effects on many low-income families, while area food shelves and other groups say they expect to see an increase in the number of people they serve. The federal farm bill, which funds food stamps and nutrition programs, will expire at the end of the month if Congress fails to renew it. In July, the House passed a new version of the bill, but it didn’t include foot stamps and the bill is now stalled. An earlier, unsuccessful, House bill included more than $20 billion in cuts, while a Senate version passed in May proposes $4 billion in cuts…”
  • Proposed food stamp cuts put most vulnerable at risk, By Gary Gately, September 17, 2013, Youth Today: “One in five Americans said they lacked enough money at times in the past year to buy the food they or their families needed, a new Gallup poll shows. Little wonder, then, that critics say a Republican bill to slash food stamp spending by $40 billion over the next 10 years would prove devastating to families struggling to put food on the table.“It’s awful; I don’t have enough words to express what a terrible, unprecedented slashing of the safety net this is,” Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, told Youth Today…”