Poor Are Still Getting Poorer

High Poverty in U.S. Continues Receiving Coverage

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010.” That data shows that, nationally, the official poverty rate increased for the third consecutive year to 15%. This trend of increasing poverty continues to get coverage in the news.

In The New York Times’ article, “‘Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on ‘Lost Decade’” covers the release of the report and unfortunately, predicts that:

This year is not likely to be any better, economists said. Stimulus money has largely ended, and state and local governments have made deep cuts to staff and to budgets for social programs, both likely to move economically fragile families closer to poverty.

Click here to read the full article.

And The Times article September 15, 2011 article, “Poor Are Still Getting Poorer, but Downturn’s Punch Varies, Census Data Show,” makes the case for how critical some government programs have been in keeping the poor from becoming poorer:

About 20.5 million people are in deep poverty, with food stamps increasingly replacing cash aid as the safety net of last resort. More than 45 million people get food stamps, an increase of 64 percent since January 2008. About one in eight Americans, and one in four children, receives aid. Using an alternative definition of income, the Census Bureau found that food stamps lifted 3.9 million people above the poverty line.

Click here to read the full story.

Also, on September 15, The Star Ledger ran an editorial, “U.S. Census Report on Poverty Should Send Message: Hands Off the Safety Net,” makes a strong case for how critical government assistance programs have been in keeping the poverty rates from growing even higher over the past few years. Quoting from the opinion piece:

President Obama and the congressional super-committee tasked with deficit reduction have to protect families on the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Bash big government all you want, especially when it indulges in wasteful spending and earmarks for bridges to nowhere. But this is where government gets it right, big time. The safety net works.

Click here to read the full editorial.

Click here for previous coverage of this news story on Monarch’s website that includes a New Jersey perspective.