Poverty Data and Statistics from the Census Bureau
In September of 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau unveiled their annual poverty numbers revealing that in 2008:
- 39.2 million people or 13.2% of the population lived in poverty during 2008. This is 2.5 million more people than the previous year.The poverty rate for children was 19.0% in 2008, representing 14.1 million kids living in poverty and over one-third (35.3%) of all people living in poverty were children.
- Real median income declined by 3.6% overall (the largest one-year drop on record); but it declined even more significantly for some ethnic groups — dropping by 5.6% on average for Hispanic families due to a concentration of employment in the construction sector.
You can view Full Census Data (released 9/10/09) and Census Data By State from the American Community Survey* (released 9/22/09).
*NOTE: To access detailed information by Jesuit Province, go to the American Community Survey link above, click on “Detailed Tables.” When you see the pull-down menu for geographies, select county, or Congressional District. Then select the states in your province.
Census Bureau to Develop New Way to Measure Poverty
On March 2nd 2010, the Department of Commerce issued the following press statement announcing a new “Supplemental Poverty Measure” to be used by the Census Bureau when measuring poverty. Long sought by researchers and policy makers, this new method will attempt to gauge more accurately both the expenditures and income sources of the poor. It will be first released in the fall of 2011, at the same time the Census Bureau’s annual poverty survey results are made public. The Administration emphasized that this is an experimental research tool, and will not replace the current guidelines used to determine eligibility for means-tested programs. The new measure is significant because:
- It calculates not only the cost of food, but also shelter, clothing and utilities for all family units with two children in determining a poverty threshold.
- Costs will take into account regional variation (not part of the official poverty measure), and will show housing cost differences for those who rent, own outright, or own with a mortgage. Expenditures will be averaged over five years, to even out fluctuations that might show up in annual data.
Counts a broader array of income sources than is currently estimated, including in-kind public benefits such as SNAP. Certain expenses are then subtracted; including child support paid, work expenses (i.e. child care and transportation), taxes and out of pocket medical expenses. Refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are counted as income.