Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage


On Wednesday, the Census released its yearly report on "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011."  Median household income fell for the fourth straight year to $50,054.  Men still earn more than women; the median income for men was over $11,000 more than for women.  Looking at various ethnicities, Asians possess the highest median household income at $65,129, followed by Whites with $55,412, Hispanics at $38,624, then and Blacks with $32,229. 

The recession's impacts on income were wide-ranging, and as a result poverty increased drastically.  While the poverty rate fell, it did so only slightly, dropping from 15.1% in 2010 to 15.0% in 2011.  Since 1965, the poverty rate jumped above 15.0% for just five years – 1982, 1983, 1993, 2010 and 2011. 

Lastly, health insurance coverage improved slightly from 2010; however, over 48 million continue to forego coverage.  15.7% of the population lacks health insurance.  This lackluster rate finds its roots in companies' inability to provide employer-based coverage, and in Americans’ inability to simply find a job.  With an unemployment rate that has doubled since the start of the recession and businesses around the country struggling to remain profitable while still providing health benefits, 11 million less Americans received health insurance through their jobs in 2011 than in 2000.  On the other hand, the number of people relying on government health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, has shot upwards more than 31 million in that same timeframe.  
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