Friday, September 08, 2006

Are You Economically Better Off Than You Were?

ARE YOU ECONOMICALLY BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE?

Here's some info from the recently released census info on poverty and income (www.census.gov) and a New York Times Editorial commenting on the numbers.

Census Bureau Poverty Rate and #s for 2005

Aug. 26, 2006 Press Release (www.census.gov)


“Real median household income in the United States rose by 1.1 percent between 2004 and 2005, reaching $46,326, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the nation’s official poverty rate remained statistically unchanged at 12.6 percent. The percentage of people without health insurance coverage rose from 15.6 percent to 15.9 percent (46.6 million people).” (www.census.gov. accessed Sept 6, 2006) [For the Numbers Scroll Down]

"Despite the Bush-era expansion, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2005 — 37 million — was the same as in 2004. This is the first time the number has not risen since 2000. But the share of the population now in poverty — 12.6 percent — is still higher than at the trough of the last recession, when it was 11.7 percent. And among the poor, 43 percent were living below half the poverty line in 2005 — $7,800 for a family of three. That’s the highest percentage of people in “deep poverty” since the government started keeping track of those numbers in 1975. " (New York Times Editorial 8/30/06) [For Full Text Scroll Down]


Poverty Line

(Family of 4) $19,971

(Family of 3) $15,577

(Family of 2) $12,755

(Single person) $ 9,973

Poverty rate 12.6% (marked end of 4 consecutive years of increase)

In Poverty 37.0 million people (32 million in 2001)

# of poor families 7.7 million families / 9.9% in 2005 (6.8 million /9.2% in 2001)

USA Median Household Income 2005

Median Household Income $46,326 (up 1.1%)

Asians $61,094

Whites $50,784

Hispanics $35,967

Blacks $30,858

USA Poverty Rates 2005

Whites 08.3% (down from 8.7% in 2004)

Blacks 24.9% (statistically unchanged)

Hispanics 21.8% (statistically unchanged)

Asians 11.1% (up from 9.8% in 2004)

Native Ams 25.3%

Children 17.6%

18-64 years 11.1%

65 years & over 10.1%

*************************************************************

The New York Times nytimes.com

August 30, 2006 Editorial

Downward Mobility

If you’re still harboring the notion that the economy is “good,” prepare to be disabused.

Even the best number from yesterday’s Census Bureau report for 2005 is bad news for most Americans. It shows that median income rose 1.1 percent last year, to $46,326, the first increase since it peaked in 1999. But the entire increase is attributable to the 23 million households headed by someone over age 65. So the gain is likely from investment income and Social Security, not wages and salaries.

For the other 91 million households, the median dropped, by half a percent, or $275. Incomes for the under-65 crowd were hurt by a decline in wages and salaries among full-time working men for the second year in a row, and among full-time working women for the third straight year. In all, median income for the under-65 group was $2,000 lower in 2005 than in 2001, when the last recession bottomed out.

Despite the Bush-era expansion, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2005 — 37 million — was the same as in 2004. This is the first time the number has not risen since 2000. But the share of the population now in poverty — 12.6 percent — is still higher than at the trough of the last recession, when it was 11.7 percent. And among the poor, 43 percent were living below half the poverty line in 2005 — $7,800 for a family of three. That’s the highest percentage of people in “deep poverty” since the government started keeping track of those numbers in 1975.

As for the uninsured, their ranks grew in 2005 by 1.3 million people, to a record 46.6 million, or 15.9 percent. That’s also worse than the recession year 2001, reflecting the rising costs of health coverage and a dearth of initiatives to help families and companies cope with the burden. For the first time since 1998, the percentage of uninsured children increased in 2005.

The Census findings are yet another indication that growth alone is not the answer to the economic and social ills of poverty, income inequality and lack of insurance. Economic growth was strong in 2005, and productivity growth was impressive. What have been missing are government policies that help to ensure that the benefits of growth are broadly shared — like strong support for public education, a progressive income tax, affordable health care, a higher minimum wage and other labor protections.

President Bush is unlikely to push for those changes, wed as he is to tax cuts that mainly benefit the wealthy. But the economic agenda for the next president couldn’t be clearer.

8 Comments:

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Blogger Joseph Fromm said...

Dear Father Malloy,

My grandparents came from Eastern Europe, they lived in dirt floor hovel. The emmigrated to the United States in the 1930's They never talked about economic injustice. All they ever talked about was Jesus, the Rosary and the Sacred Heart. My point being, the poor were not so much concerned with poverty as they were with Salvation. Are you interested in others Salvation?

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