Child Poverty in US Cities

Poverty rate for Buffalo children approaches 50%, the third-worst mark among major cities, By G. Scott Thomas, June 24, 2015, Buffalo Business First: “There are 32 major U.S. cities where the current poverty rate for children is 30 percent or larger — and Buffalo is high on that list.  So high, in fact, that it ranks third.  Nearly half of Buffalo’s children — 47.6 percent, to be exact — are living in poverty, according to a Business First analysis of the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau…”

Racial Income Gap

  • Minority families struggle to break out of poverty, study finds, By Tiffany Hsu, March 17, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “A generation from now, minority workers are expected to make up the majority of the American workforce. But today, their families are far more likely to be poor than their white counterparts, according to an analysis of Census data released Monday.  The study, by the Working Poor Families Project, showed that working poor families are three times more likely to be headed by a minority parent…”
  • Black and Latino working families are twice as likely as others to be low-income, By Michael A. Fletcher, March 16, 2015, Washington Post: “As the U.S. economy has picked up again after the recession, it’s become clear that some Americans are getting a bigger share of the recovery than others.  A new report released Monday by the Working Families Project, a national initiative that pushes state governments to adopt family friendly policies, shows that black and Hispanic working families are twice as likely as those headed by whites and Asians to be poor or low-income—a gap that has widened since the recession…”
  • Working Poor Families Project report highlights more disparities for Wisconsin minorities, By Pat Schneider, March 17, 2015, Capital Times: “Another report is delineating a stark racial and ethnic divide in Wisconsin, this one focusing on low-income working families. And without significant policy changes, the gap will continue to grow, affecting the long-term vitality of the economy, researchers predict.  The new report by the Working Poor Families Projectfound that  61 percent of minority working families in the state are low-income, compared to 22 percent of white working families who are low-income. Some 64 percent of all black working families fall into the low-income category, as do 72 percent of all Latino working families…”

SNAP Enrollment

  • Despite high poverty, Californians’ food aid use is low, By Dan Walters, March 3, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “Nearly a quarter of California’s 38 million residents are living in poverty by a new Census Bureau method of calculating economic well-being – by far the nation’s highest rate.  But the 23.8 percent of Californians who are impoverished – due largely to the state’s very high costs of housing and other necessities – have one of the nation’s lowest rates of using federal food assistance benefits, according to another Census Bureau report and data from federal and state agencies…”
  • The astonishing state-by-state rise in food stamp reliance, By Niraj Chokshi, March 3, 2015, Washington Post: “The share of households on food stamps has more than doubled since 2000, a new Census Bureau report finds. From 2000 to 2013, the share of households receiving aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has grown from 6.2 percent to 13.5 percent nationally. What was once a program providing aid to 1 in 16 Americans is now helping 1 in 8.

Poverty Measurement

Who’s poor? Depends how you measure it, By Amy Crawford, March 1, 2015, Boston Globe: “As Mitt Romney flirted with the idea of a third presidential run in January, the former Massachusetts governor called for a new war on poverty in America. Romney’s remarks, which briefly got both parties talking about the issue, were surprising not only because he had drawn flak during his 2012 campaign for claiming that he was ‘not concerned about the very poor,’ but also because American political discourse has always focused more on the frustrations of the middle class than the struggles of the least fortunate.  One reason politicians target their appeals to people in the middle of the socioeconomic scale is pragmatic: They are more likely to vote than those at the bottom. But it’s also because poverty is a particularly intractable and confounding problem. As a culture, we’re not sure how to explain who ends up in poverty—whether they’re disadvantaged by the system, lazy, or just unlucky. In fact, we can’t even agree on what poverty means…”

Child Poverty

  • More than 1 in 4 school-aged children in Louisiana live in poverty, By Emily Lane, December 18, 2014, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “If a link exists between poverty and poor educational outcomes, Louisiana’s rate of school-aged children living below the poverty line may explain some of the state’s K-12 education struggles. Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of school-aged children living in poverty among the 50 United States and Washington, D.C., according to 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Mississippi, Washington, D.C., and New Mexico, respectively, have higher rates of poverty among children ages 5-17…”
  • Census data: Across Colorado, child poverty rate slowly improving, By Nathaniel Minor, December 18, 2014, Colorado Public Radio: “The child poverty rates in counties across Colorado are slowly dropping after spiking during the Great Recession. New U.S. Census Bureau data released on Wednesday shows little movement from 2012 to 2013 in the child poverty rate for 44 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Only four counties saw increases of at least two percentage points: Alamosa, Dolores, Fremont and Hinsdale…”

Child Poverty

A tremendous number of school children in America still live in poverty, By Emily Badger, December 17, 2014, Washington Post: “Earlier this fall, the Census Bureau reported that child poverty in America is finally declining for the first time in more than a decade. But while the national trend is ticking down, in many parts of the country — particularly the South — poverty rates for kids are still above the national average and higher than they were before the start of the recession. According to new Census data out today, poverty rates for school-aged children in 2013 were still above their 2007 levels in nearly a third of all counties, many of them clustered around metro areas in California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina…”

Health Insurance Coverage in the US

  • 42 million people lacked health insurance in 2013, Census Bureau says, By Guy Boulton, September 16, 2014, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “An estimated 42 million people, or 13.4% of the population, were without health insurance coverage for all of 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The percentage was much higher for adults between 19 and 64 years old, with 18.5%, or almost one in five, uninsured last year. The estimates released Tuesday by the Census Bureau will become the baseline to track changes in the number of people who gain health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. The parts of the law that will expand insurance coverage did not kick in until this year and are not reflected in the 2013 data…”
  • Number of Americans without health insurance falls, survey shows, By Sabrina Tavernise, September 16, 2014, New York Times: “Federal researchers reported on Tuesday that the number of Americans without health insurance had declined substantially in the first quarter of this year, the first federal measure of the number of uninsured Americans since the Affordable Care Act extended coverage to millions of people in January. The number of uninsured Americans fell by about 8 percent to 41 million people in the first quarter of this year, compared with 2013, a drop that represented about 3.8 million people and that roughly matched what experts were expecting based on polling by private groups, like Gallup. The survey also measured physical health but found little evidence of change…”

State-Level Income Inequality

  • Income inequality last year rose in 15 states, By Niraj Chokshi, September 18, 2014, Washington Post: “The nation became more unequal last year. The Gini Index, a measure of income inequality, was higher, in a statistically significant way, in 2013 than in 2012, rising from 0.476 to 0.481, according to a new Census Bureau report. A score of zero suggests perfect equality where all households have equal income, while a score of one suggests perfect inequality, where one household has it all, and the rest have none. Alaska was the only state to see its Gini Index score decline…”
  • Income inequality is hurting state tax revenue, report says, By Josh Boak (AP), September 15, 2014, Washington Post: “Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released Monday by Standard & Poor’s. Even as income has accelerated for the affluent, it has barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue. As the growth of tax revenue has slowed, states have faced tensions over whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their budgets as required by law…”
  • Income inequality: States struggle to balance budgets as rich-poor gap widens, By Mark Trumbull, September 15, 2014, Christian Science Monitor: “A widening gap in incomes between the rich and the middle class may be hitting US states where it hurts – making it harder for them to raise the tax revenue they need for balancing their budgets. This conclusion, reached in a report released Monday by Standard & Poor’s, comes at a time when states across America are still struggling to rebuild their revenue streams more than five years after the end of a historically deep recession…”

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013

  • Poverty rate posts 1st drop since 2006 thanks to more full-time jobs, By Jim Puzzanghera and Don Lee, September 16, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “The nation’s poverty rate dropped last year for the first time since 2006, but the typical household income barely budged in a sign of the continuing sluggish economic recovery from the Great Recession, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. The decline in the poverty rate to 14.5% of the population from 15% in 2012 was driven by an increase in people with full-time jobs last year, Census officials said…”
  • U.S. poverty rate declines slightly, Census Bureau reports, By Robert Pear, September 16, 2014, New York Times: “The poverty rate declined slightly last year for the first time since 2006, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, but there was no statistically significant change in the number of poor people or in the income level of the typical American household. Over all, the bureau said, 14.5 percent of Americans were living in poverty last year, down from 15 percent in 2012. In addition, it said, the poverty rate for children under 18 declined for the first time since 2000…”
  • Poverty dropped but household incomes didn’t rise, Census Bureau says, By Carol Morello, September 16, 2014, Washington Post: “The nation’s poverty rate dipped slightly last year as more Americans shifted from part-time work to full-time jobs, but wages barely kept up with inflation so there was no significant change to incomes, according to Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday. The poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5 percent, down from 15 percent in 2012. That was the first decline in the rate since 2006, a year before the recession began. However, the number of people living at or below the poverty line, about 45 million, did not budge. The decline in the rate at a time of unchanging raw numbers was attributed to population growth…”
  • U.S. poverty declines in 2013, median income stagnant, Census Bureau finds, By Tony Pugh, September 16, 2014, Miami Herald: “An improved economy with more full-time workers spurred a decline in the national poverty rate in 2013 _ the first in 7 years _ and the first decline in the nation’s child poverty rate in 13 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday. The number of men and women working full time, year round increased by 1.8 million and by 1 million, respectively, from 2012 to 2013, as America’s recession-battered workforce continued to find jobs and move from part-time to full-time work status…”
  • Poverty rate drops for the first time since 2006, By Jesse J. Holland (AP), September 16, 2014, Salt Lake Tribune: “The poverty rate in the United States has dropped for the first time since 2006, bringing a bit of encouraging news about the nation’s economy as President Barack Obama and Congress gear up for midterm elections. The U.S. Census Bureau, in its annual look at poverty in the United States, said that the poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5 percent, down from 15 percent in 2012. The decrease in the poverty rate was attributed to the growth in year-round employment by 2.8 million jobs in the United States, government officials said…”
  • U.S. poverty rate drops for first time since 2006, By Tami Luhby, September 16, 2014, CNNMoney: “There’s not much good news for working Americans struggling to rebound from the recession, except perhaps this: the U.S. poverty rate is finally on the decline. The nation’s poverty rate fell to 14.5% in 2013, down from 15% a year earlier, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. This is the first statistically significant drop in poverty since 2006, when it was 12.3%. A lot of the decrease is coming from people starting to find full-time work — and thus earning more money. But the number of people in poverty remains stuck at 45.3 million. As America’s population expands, the job growth hasn’t kept pace…”

Public Assistance Receipt

  • Welfare rates vary widely by state and city, By Carol Morello, September 2, 2014, Washington Post: “The Washington and Baltimore metro areas, along with Miami and three Texas cities, have the lowest share of residents on public assistance, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. The figures do not necessarily show where economic need is the greatest. Instead, they reflect the different approaches that states have taken to welfare, particularly during the recession, when some states changed eligibility rules and lowered benefits to cope with budget shortfalls…”
  • 1-in-30 Ohioans received a welfare check in 2012, Census report shows, By Rich Exner, September 2, 2014, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “About 3.3 percent of Ohioans received welfare checks at some point in 2012, up from 2.9 percent in 2000, the year the state began limiting how long people could remain in the program. Nationally, 2.9 percent received at least one welfare or general assistance check in 2012, up from 2.6 percent in 2000, a Census Bureau report issued Tuesday shows…”

Concentrated Poverty – North Carolina

Poverty spreads across Mecklenburg, North Carolina, By David Perlmutt, Gavin Off and Claire Williams, August 2, 2014, Charlotte Observer: “For Oscar Olivares’ neighbors, life in their south Charlotte apartment complex is a daily struggle with little way out. The apartments off Arrowood Road look kept up on the outside. On the inside, two, even four, families often share the rent and meals. Some sleep in cars when they can’t afford to rent. Nights can bring trouble – many residents stay locked inside. Olivares, 59, and wife Claudia, who both grew up in desperate poverty in Chile, chose to live at the complex to conduct mission work. He is a part-time chaplain for Forest Hill Church and works with the nonprofit Learning Help Centers of Charlotte, two groups among many that help poor residents try to overcome poverty…”

2014 Kids Count Data Book

  • Child poverty rates on the rise, By Hoai-Tran Bui, July 22, 2014, USA Today: “Child poverty rates in the U.S. are on the rise, but health and education trends are showing improvements—including teen pregnancy reaching a historic low, according to the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In its analysis of children’s overall well-being, the 25th edition of the KIDS COUNT Data Book found that about 23% of children in 2012 are living in families below the poverty line. The KIDS COUNT Data Book takes into account four factors to judge children’s well-being – economic status, education, health and family and community – and found that statistics were generally mixed since the study was started in 1990. This year’s data book looks at state Census statistics up until 2012…”
  • Southwest, South score low on child-welfare index, Associated Press, July 22, 2014, Washington Post: “Several states in the Deep South and Southwest have earned dismal scores on an annual child-welfare index that cited poverty and single-parent house households as worrisome trends that must be turned around for things to improve. Mississippi was rated the worst state for overall child well-being, largely because of rising child poverty. It was the second time in three years the state has come in last in rankings complied in the Kids Count Data Book. New Mexico, Nevada, Louisiana and Arizona round out the bottom five states. The study released Tuesday marks the 25th edition of the child well-being scorecard from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a child advocacy group…”

Childbearing Trends

3 charts that show America’s poverty problems start at birth, By Danielle Kurtzelben, July 9, 2014, Vox: “A new Census report confirms a few longstanding childbearing trends: women are having children more and more outside of marriage, and more educated women tend to have children later. But it also shows something more surprising: the share of children born into poverty is large, and it may be getting worse. In 2012, more than one in four women having kids — nearly 28 percent — were living in poverty that year. That’s up markedly from 2008, when the share was only 25 percent. By comparison, only around 15 percent of Americans were in poverty altogether that year. . .”

The Near-Poor in the US

Five percent of Americans hover just above poverty, By Carol Morello, May 1, 2014, Washington Post: “Almost 5 percent of Americans struggle living just one step above poverty, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. The ranks of the near-poor, as they are called, are more likely to be women than men, and lack even a high school degree, the report said. The highest rate, 6.3 percent, was among African Americans. The census report examining what has happened to the near-poor since the mid-1960s shone a spotlight on those whose incomes rise above poverty thresholds, but only by 25 percent or less. In 2012 dollars, a family of four would be considered near-poor if their income fell between $23,283 and $29,104…”

US Poverty Rate

Seesaw economy: Nearly one in three dipped into poverty, By Allison Linn, February 12, 2014, CNBC: “In America’s new normal, plenty of people will tumble into poverty at some point—but few will be stuck there. Nearly one in three Americans experienced a stint of poverty between 2009 and 2011, a new Census Bureau report finds, but only a fraction of those people were stuck below the poverty line for the entire three-year period. ‘There’s a lot of movement in and out of poverty,’ said Ann Stevens, director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis. That’s partly because of the weak recovery, in which one small victory can push someone above the poverty line, and a setback can shove him or her right back down. But it’s also because of a longer-running trend toward lower-skilled, low-paying jobs…”

State Poverty Rates

Uneven gains for states after 50 years of the War on Poverty, By Jake Grovum, January 30, 2014, Stateline: “The War on Poverty has alleviated some of the economic despair that existed when President Lyndon Johnson declared ‘all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States’ in January 1964. But many of the states that were among the poorest decades ago remain so today, even as safety-net programs have benefited millions of Americans. The average poverty rate among the states was 24 percent in 1959. But some were in much worse shape than others: Mississippi’s rate, for example, was 54.5 percent then. The rate in Arkansas was 47.5 percent, and in South Carolina it was 45.4 percent. Fifteen states had official poverty rates of 30 percent or higher, according to the 1960 U.S. Census. That year the official federal poverty level was an annual household income of $2,973 for a family of four, or $23,800 in today’s dollars…”

Poverty Measurement in the US

  • 1-in-3 Americans experience at least temporary poverty; poverty stats over the years, By Rich Exner, January 8, 2014, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty, new estimates from the Census Bureau show that nearly one in three Americans spent at least some time in poverty over a three-year period. This is double the national poverty rate for 2012, illustrating that many more people live in poverty for at least brief periods. The national rates take into account income for an entire year. The short-term poverty rate released on Tuesday found that 31.6 percent of Americans spent at least two months in poverty from 2009 to 2011 – an increase of 4.5 percentage points from 2005 to 2007. But it also showed that only 3.5 percent of Americans were in poverty for the entire 36-month period…”
  • Recession led to longer bouts of poverty, Census Bureau says, By Emily Alpert Reyes, January 8, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “During the tail end of the recession and its aftermath, nearly a third of Americans suffered bouts of poverty lasting two months or more, the U.S. Census Bureau found in a newly released report. It’s little surprise that more Americans endured such episodes than before the economic slump. Spells of poverty also lasted longer after the downturn. (The National Bureau of Economic Research defines the recession as the period from December 2007 to June 2009.) Among Americans who spent at least two months in poverty between 2009 and 2011, the median spell of poverty lasted more than 6 1/2 months — nearly a month longer than between 2005 and 2007, the report found. Some Americans struggled even longer to shake off poverty, especially African Americans, the elderly and single mothers…”
  • Who counts as poor in America?, By Simone Pathe, January 8, 2014, PBS Newshour: “Homeless people without shelter from this week’s frigid temperatures. Medicaid patients living out their days in a nursing home. Orphaned kids raised in foster homes. Or Dasani, the ‘invisible child’ profiled in the New York Times five-day spread. Who among them counts as poor? Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson announced a legislative agenda to wage ‘unconditional war on poverty in America.’ But how do we know what poverty is in America? Dip below the so-called ‘poverty line,’ and you’re in poverty. Sit at or above it, and you’re not. Also known as the ‘poverty threshold,’ this is the official cutoff the Census Bureau establishes for statistical tabulations of who is poor…”

American Community Survey

  • New census data: Poverty up in Lower Northeast, down in S. Philly, By Alfred Lubrano and John Duchneskie, December 19, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Poverty has increased a startling 62 percent in the communities of Lower Northeast Philadelphia since 1999. At the same time, poverty increased 42 percent in Roxborough and Manayunk, while declining 13 percent in South Philadelphia. Those findings come from an Inquirer comparison of 2000 census figures with new data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. The new federal data were contained in the American Community Survey (ACS), a compilation of information collected from 24.5 million people nationwide between 2008 to 2012. That five-year period includes most of the recession and its aftermath…”
  • Real income for Southwest Floridians is falling, according to census, By December 17, 2013, News-Press: “The American Community Survey 2008-2012 released this week provided the public new data on a variety of local demographics from population growth to percentage in the labor force. Southwest Florida’s statistics overall mirror the direction of the state of Florida’s demographics: A drop in the real value of average income, a slight decrease in the percentage of senior citizens, more foreign-born residents, increases in the percentage of people with high school degrees or equivalent and bachelor’s degrees or higher, a rise in the percentage of people in the labor force and a falling percentage of owner-occupied homes. The American Community Survey is produced by the U.S. Census and the latest report was released on Tuesday…”
  • State’s median household income dives; Lincoln, Omaha declines discouraging, By Richard Piersol, December 17, 2013, Lincoln Journal Star: “Rising income inequality has spread to Nebraska, a trend revealed by U.S. Census data released Tuesday. Nebraska’s median household income — median means midpoint or balancing point, so it’s the income level with as many households above as there are below — fell 5 percent over about a decade after adjusting for inflation…”
  • New census data spotlight health insurance coverage, By Olivia Winslow, December 17, 2013, Newsday: “New U.S. Census Bureau data for the first time show health insurance information at the community level, with 16 Long Island villages and hamlets registering uninsured rates of 20 percent and higher. The five-year American Community Survey statistics, from 2008 through 2012, highlight socioeconomic conditions on Long Island that local experts said Tuesday underscore the need for affordable insurance. Twelve of the 16 communities are in Suffolk County — with eight of those on the East End — and four are in Nassau…”

Supplemental Poverty Measure

  • Poverty level doesn’t budge: 50 million and counting, By Jennifer Liberto, November 6, 2013, CNNMoney: “The economic recovery hasn’t done all that much for the poor. But federal programs aimed at helping the poor are keeping some Americans out of poverty, according to a special ‘supplemental poverty measure’ by the Census Bureau released Wednesday. The poverty rate hasn’t budged over the past two years, as nearly 50 million Americans, or 16% of the population, lived in poverty in 2012, according to the special report…”
  • The real measure of poverty: 1 out of 6 Americans, By Hope Yen (AP), November 6, 2013, NBC News: “The number of poor people in America is 3 million higher than the official count, encompassing 1 in 6 residents due to out-of-pocket medical costs and work-related expenses, according to a revised census measure released Wednesday. The new measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty, but does not replace the official government numbers. Put in place two years ago by the Obama administration, it generally is considered more reliable by social scientists because it factors in living expenses as well as the effects of government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits…”
  • U.S. poverty higher, California highest, when housing costs added, By Emily Alpert Reyes, November 6, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “An alternative way of measuring poverty shows that nearly 2.8 million more people are struggling across the country than officially calculated, the U.S. Census Bureau reports – and California has by far the biggest share of people in poverty, eclipsing states such as Mississippi and Louisiana. The alternative yardstick, known as the supplemental poverty measure, is different from the official poverty rate in a few key ways: It takes tax credits and other government benefits into account. It also counts necessary expenses such as child care and out-of-pocket medical costs…”
  • Nebraska, Iowa look even better on poverty scale, By Henry J. Cordes, November 7, 2013, Omaha World-Herald: “Iowa, Nebraska and other states in the hardworking Midwest have always boasted some of the lowest poverty rates in the country. But under a new Census Bureau poverty calculation that for the first time takes into account cost-of-living differences among the states, the Midwest looks even better. Iowa ranks No. 1 for lowest poverty under the new measure released Wednesday — five spots better than it ranked under the latest official poverty measure, which didn’t adjust for cost-of-living differences…”

US Poverty Rate

U.S. poverty rate stabilizes—for some, By Neil Shah, October 11, 2013, Wall Street Journal: “America’s poverty rate has stabilized after rising during and right after the last recession—yet a greater share of the poor are poorer than they have been in years. Forty-four percent of America’s poor are considered to be in “deep poverty”—defined as an income 50% or more below the government’s official poverty line. That percentage of Americans in deep poverty is up from 42% before the recession and near the highest level since data became available in 1975, according to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey…”