ImperiumWatch: Poverty Gains Ground

The census tells us things are as bad as we think.

Comments (0)
Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Census Bureau just informed us that in 2010, we had 46.2 million people living in poverty—the highest number since 1959, when the census began keeping track of economic status. The figure is up .8 percent (14.3 percent to 15.1 percent) from 2009, and represents almost one-sixth of Americans

The new statistics have especially disturbing implications for young people. Last spring, says the census report, 5.9 million people from 25 to 34 years of age were living with their parents. They "had an official poverty rate of 8.4 percent," says the report, "but if their poverty status were determined using their own income, 45.3 percent had an income below the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65." Poverty these days is defined as $22, 314 for a family of four, $11,344 for an individual under age 65.

The issue of poverty is related to the issue of health insurance in two ways: first, because those who are poor are less likely to have health insurance, and second, because those who don't have health insurance often incur costs that make them poor, or poorer, if they become seriously ill. The Census Bureau says the number of Americans without health insurance was up to 49.9 million last year; that's 16.3 percent of us, up from 16.1 percent in 2009. The reason: fewer people had coverage provided by employers.

There's one bit of good news on the health insurance front, however, and it concerns the young: the percentage of uninsured people between 18 and 24 fell from 29.3 to 27.2, though no other age group posted a decrease.

Experts say the reason more young people now have insurance is likely the Obama health care reform provision that allows parents to keep their children on the family plan until they're 26. Before, many insurers dropped children from family plans when they reached the age of 19 or when they graduated from college.

It's possible to be poor and lead a long, healthy life, but people who manage to do that don't make up the statistical majority. In general, there's a connection between income—not necessarily affluence—and life expectancy.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, in 2000, 133,000 Americans died of various causes related to poverty, including lack of health insurance (and poor nutrition, lack of money to move away from poor environmental conditions, and other poverty-related factors). A 2009 Harvard study found that 45,000 people die in the U.S. each year for lack of health insurance.




New User/Guest?

Find it Here:
search type:
search in:

« Previous   |   Next »
Print Email RSS feed

Guest Column: Schools Don’t Need The Web
Captive Market
New rules lower the cost of phone calls to and from prison inmates.
The Wonderful World of F.L. Olmsted
A new, locally produced documentary on F.L. Olmsted is a charming introduction to the democratic visionary and genius of landscape architecture.
From Our Readers
Black and White Call the Kettle Gray; Blogger’s a Bozo; Military Power Deters Adversaries
Splash Page
What’s a “GMO,” Anyway?; Enter the Dragon Boats; By the Numbers; Worth Quoting
News Briefs
Fisher Fights to Get on GOP Gubernatorial Ballot; Narcan to the Rescue; Health Report Reveals Troubling Stats in Hampden County; Pay Day Comes Late for Women Workers; and more
Going Public
Hilltown families fight to keep their local school
Between the Lines: Capitalism and Suicide
Inequality—or awareness of inequality—kills.