NJ Sees 2.5% Increase; Rises for 4th Straight Year
On September 12, 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual income, poverty and health coverage data.
Nationally, the level of poverty still remains at an unacceptable level:
Poverty stayed about the same – 15%, (more than 46 million poor people in 2011). But in New Jersey, there has been a 4% increase in poverty over the last four years;
Children remained disproportionately poor – just under 22%; and
In 2011, the poverty level for a family of four was $23,021.
Many economists were predicting poverty would continue to rise. Why didn’t it?
The Census Bureau’s analysts attribute the slight improvement to more low-income people working, and to the help provided by Unemployment Insurance (UI.)
The help from UI diminished from 2010 to 2011; 2.3 million people were lifted out of poverty by UI in 2011, down from 3.2 million in 2010.
That decline was in large part because federal UI benefits were starting to drop.
If benefits had not gone down, poverty would have declined further.
An increasing number of people were lifted out of poverty by Social Security income: 21.4 million in 2011, up from 20.3 million in 2010.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and SNAPS (the former Food Stamp program) were also responsible for keeping households out of poverty.
But in New Jersey, there has been a significant decrease in the median household income over the past four years – a $7,132 decrease.
Nationally, there was good news around health insurance:
The number of uninsured people declined, and the number with private insurance went up. However in New Jersey, over the past four years, there was a 3.2% decrease in people under the age of 18 with no health insurance.
According to Families USA, there has been significant progress was made by 18-26 year olds, the older among them now covered under their parents’ health insurance, and by children with pre-existing conditions, who are protected by the health care law.
Click here for a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Click here for a statement released by the Coalition on Human Needs.