Census Bureau Releases 2011 Poverty Data
New figures released by the Census Bureau reveal that 46.2 million Americans (15 percent), including 16.1 million children, are living in poverty. In addition, income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient index, increased to its highest level in 45 years.
The Census Bureau data release, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011” indicates that roughly one in six American were living in poverty. The data also showed that median income for middle class families had declined, while rising for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans. Alarmingly, 21.9 percent of children under the age of 18 – some 16 million individuals – are considered poor. The Census Bureau defines family of four with an annual income of less than $23,000 as in poverty.
While the percentage of Americans in poverty remained steady from 2010 to 2011, challenges remain:
- Child Poverty: The number of children growing up in poverty is particularly alarming and threatens to cripple our long-term economic competitiveness.
- The Shrinking Middle Class: While the percentage of people in poverty remains stagnant, the middle class is vanishing as incomes decline.
- Women in Poverty: Women continue to experience poverty at a disproportionate rate.