Poverty Level Rises to Highest Level Since 1993

September 14, 2011

More Americans are living in poverty: The number of Americans living in poverty rose to 15.1 percent, its highest level since 1993, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. 

Median household income has fallen 7 percent since 2000 (adjusting for inflation) to $49,445 — its lowest since 1996. 

The largest drops in incomes were from young professionals and minorities. The median income for black households dropped 3.2 percent to $32,068. 

“It’s about joblessness,” Timothy Smeeding, director of the Institute for the Research of Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, told USA Today. “Young [people] don’t have work, and poverty would be even higher if so many 25- to 34-year-olds weren’t living at home with their parents.” 

Indeed, the number of households “doubling up” grew from 19.7 million in 2007 to 21.8 million in the spring of 2011, according to Trudi Renwick, the Census Bureau’s chief of poverty statistics. 

Meanwhile, the only age group to prosper in the last decade: Americans aged 65 and older. Adjusted for inflation, their household income increased 7.5 percent over the decade, according to U.S. Census data. 

Source: “Poverty at 15.1%; Its Highest Level Since 1993,” USA Today (Sept. 13, 2011)

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