Health Insurance in the United States: 2014

  • Proportion of Americans without health insurance dropped in 2014, By Amy Goldstein, Scott Clement and Jeff Guo, September 17, 2015, Washington Post: “The proportion of Americans who lack health insurance fell markedly last year, according to new federal figures that provide the strongest evidence to date of how the Affordable Care Act is driving changes in health coverage across the country…”
  • Poverty persists but more have healthcare, By Don Lee, September 16, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “A steadily growing job market and higher minimum-wage laws in pockets of the country failed to reduce the nation’s poverty rate last year or reverse the long-running trend of stagnating incomes for most American households…”
  • Census: Health coverage expands in 2014; poverty, wages stagnate, By Tony Pugh, September 16, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “The share of Americans without health insurance fell to 10.4 percent in 2014 as nearly 9 million people gained health coverage, according to government figures released Wednesday. Thirty-three million Americans lacked health insurance in 2014, down from 41.8 million, or 13.3 percent, in 2013, the annual Census Bureau survey found…”
  • Census report: Levels of uninsured fell dramatically in U.S., Wisconsin, By Guy Boulton, Bill Glauber and Kevin Crowe, September 16, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “An estimated 8.5 million people nationwide, including 100,000 in Wisconsin, gained health insurance coverage in 2014, the first year that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimates released Wednesday show a historic drop in the uninsured rate to 11.7% nationally and to 7.3% in Wisconsin…”

American Community Survey

  • 1 out of every 2 children in Syracuse lives in poverty, new Census data shows, By Marnie Eisenstadt, September 17, 2015, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Half of the children in Syracuse live in poverty and the city continues to be among the poorest in the nation, according to U.S. Census data released today. The poverty rate in Syracuse for 2014 was 34.4 percent, making it the 16th poorest city among 585 cities in the U.S. with populations greater than 65,000. That’s 49,626 people living in poverty…”
  • Census: Poverty level steady in Philadelphia, drops in Camden, By Alfred Lubrano, September 17, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia remained the poorest of America’s 10 largest cities in 2014, with more than one quarter of its residents – 26 percent – living below the poverty line. At the same time, Camden recorded a seemingly significant drop in poverty in 2014 from 42.6 percent to 36.5 percent – a change experts had a hard time explaining…”
  • Poverty keeps tight grip on Milwaukee, new census figures show, By Bill Glauber and Kevin Crowe, September 16, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Poverty held a persistent grip on Milwaukee in 2014, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s poverty rate of 29% — unchanged from a year earlier — was nearly double the national rate of 14.8%, leaving Milwaukee as the nation’s fifth most impoverished big city…”
  • Census bureau: Detroit is poorest big city in U.S., By Karen Bouffard, September 17, 2015, Detroit News: “Michigan is among 12 states that saw a decline in the percentage of people living in poverty in 2014 though the state’s poverty rate remained higher than the national average, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday…”

Child Poverty by Race

  • For first time, black kids in poverty outnumber white, By Lauren Pankin, July 16, 2015, Detroit Free Press: “The number of black children living in poverty in the U.S. has surpassed the number of poor white children for the first time since U.S. Census has tracked such numbers in 1974, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Overall, 20% of children in the U.S., or 14.7 million, lived in poverty in 2013 — down from 22%. Of that, black children make up 4.2 million while white children account for 4.1 million…”
  • Black children in U.S. are much more likely to live in poverty, study finds, By Sabrina Tavernise, July 14, 2015, New York Times: “Black children were almost four times as likely as white children to be living in poverty in 2013, a new report has found, the latest evidence that the economic recovery is leaving behind some of the United States’ most vulnerable citizens. The share of American children living in poverty fell to about 20 percent in 2013 from 22 percent in 2010, according to the report by the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau.

2015 Kids Count Data Book

  • More children living in poverty now than during recession, By Jennifer Calfas, July 21, 2015, USA Today: “A higher percentage of children live in poverty now than did during the Great Recession, according to anew report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Tuesday. About 22% of children in the U.S. lived below the poverty line in 2013, compared with 18% in 2008, the foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service’s official poverty line was $23,624 for a family with two adults and two children…”
  • Kids Count: How does your state rank in child well-being?, By Cristina Maza, July 21, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “For children in New England and the Midwest, life is pretty good. For those in the South and Southwest though, not so much. And overall, kids are not as well off as they were before the 2008 recession. That’s according to the latest Kids Count Data Book released Tuesday by child advocacy group the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The study found that 22 percent of American children were living in poverty in 2013 compared with 18 percent in 2008. Furthermore, poverty rates are nearly double among African-Americans and American Indians…”
  • ‘Troubling’ report finds growing number of US children living in ​poverty, By Alan Yuhas, July 21, 2015, The Guardian: “A growing number of US children are living amid poverty and stark racial inequities in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, a new report has found, suggesting the economic recovery has not helped families return to their pre-recession security. Twenty-two percent of American children lived in poverty in 2013, according to the latest Kids Count Data Book, compared to 18% in 2008. The organization that compiled the report, child advocacy group the Annie E Casey Foundation, found it ‘especially troubling’ that children are increasingly likely to grow up in a high-poverty neighborhood…”

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…”