Data released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday shows that the poverty line stayed the same in 2011 compared to 2010 after the poverty line increased for three consecutive years. The data also shows that the number of Americans who have health insurance coverage increased in 2011. The poverty rate in 2011 was at 15 percent, which equates to 46.2 million people living in poverty.
“At a time when the poverty rate is stuck at a very high level, federal and state governments are broke, politicians are talking about reducing taxes, programs for the elderly are crowding out programs for working-age families, and a struggling middle class is in no position to help those trying to join their ranks. It is very simply a terrible time to be poor,” said Isabel V. Sawhill, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.
After inflation was accounted for, median household income decreased for the second year in a row. It lost 1.5 percent from the 2010 median to $50,054. According to the government, families were hit the hardest, with household income falling to $62,273, which is a 1.7 percent drop. Compared to 2007, household wages decreased by 8.1 percent. Compared to 1999, income was 8.9 percent lower in 2011.
In terms of healthcare, 260.2 million Americans had coverage in 2011, which is 84.3 percent. That number is an increase from 256.6 million people, 83.7 percent, back in 2010.
From 2010 to 2011, inequality of income increased by 1.6 percent. The Census Bureau said that the income gap for women stayed the same from 2010 to 2011. Women who worked full-time, 12 months per year, earned 77 percent of what men made.