The latest government data shows that income is well below levels of the last millenium.
The United States achieved a dubious new record in 2010: America now has the largest number of people living in poverty since the Census Bureau began tracking the nation’s poor 52 years ago.
Four consecutive years of increases has brought the official number of poor Americans to 46.2 million, or 15.1 percent of the population in 2010 - the highest percentage measured since 1993, the Census Bureau reported yesterday. At the same time real median household income fell to $49,445, a 2.3 percent drop from 2009.
The discouraging data covers the first full calendar year following the official end of the recession and shows that millions of Americans have yet to participate in the economic recovery, but according to the bureau, the trend is consistent with the last three recessions. The poverty rate and the number of people living in poverty rose in the first calendar year following the last three downturns, but rose in the year following the recessions ending in 1961 and 1975.
Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has fallen 6.4 percent, the bureau reported, and is 7.1 percent below a peak in median household income that occurred in 1999.
A growing number of households headed by single women now live in poverty, 4.7 million or 31.6 percent in 2010, up from 29.9 percent and 4.4 million in 2009. The family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty rose to 11.7 percent and 9.2 million, respectively, up from 11.1 percent and 8.8 million in 2009.
Increasing numbers of adults are “doubling up” on housing and more young adults are living with their parents, and more children younger than 18 are living in poverty. The percentage of children going without health insurance held steady at 9.8 percent in 2010, according to date released by the Census Bureau yesterday. The total number of people without health insurance was 16.3 percent.
The increase in poverty and decrease in household income are two key factors contributing to a decline in consumer and investor confidence across all segments of the American public. Recent surveys by Millionaire Corner reveal a deep pessimism, cutting across wealth levels, over the outlook for the nation’s job and housing markets. The recession has eroded the well being of even America’s wealthiest investors who express high levels of concern about the national debt, the current political environment, the prolonged economic downturn and inflation.
More than half the Millionaires surveyed in March said they worried about coping with the financial consequences of a family health catastrophe and 58 percent worried about being able to maintain their current financial position - up from 46 percent in 2010. More than 45 percent worried about having enough money set aside for retirement, and 56 percent worried about financing the education of their children.