As Mother Jones reports, the US Census Bureau not long ago released its annual data on income, poverty, health insurance coverage, and other metrics of prosperity. As to be expected, the news is pretty grim, with poverty barely budging between 2010 and 2011:
It gets even worse you break it down to specifics:
Poverty remained flat: 46.2 million people—15 percent of the population—lived on less than $23,021 annually for a family of four.
People who would have been in poverty if not for Social Security: 67.6 million (program kept 21.4 million people out of poverty).
Income inequality: Incomes fell for the bottom four-fifths of US households, rising only for the top one-fifth.
Gender gap, 2011: Women 34 percent more likely to be poor than men.
Gender gap, 2010: Women 29 percent more likely to be poor than women.
Change in average household income, middle 20 percent: -$876, or -1.7 percent
Change in average household income, top 5 percent: +$15,184, or +5.1 percent
Change in median income for full-time, year-round workers: -2.5 percent
Income quintile with largest growth in number of full-time, year-round workers: bottom 20 percent, with a 17.3 percent increase in FTYR workers.
Unemployment insurance (UI) income: fell by $36 billion (25 percent), due in part to benefits declining as Recovery Act provisions expired.
Unemployment insurance, 2010: lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty.
Unemployment insurance, 2011: lifted 2.3 million people out of poverty.
Federal UI benefits scheduled to end entirely, for everybody: December 31, 2012
Number and percentage of uninsured Americans: fell by 1.3 million, from 16.3 percent to 15.7 percent, largest annual improvement since 1999; 40 percent of that decline is attributable to persons ages 19–25, as a result of Affordable Care Act allowing individuals to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26.
Keep in mind, this is census data – hard facts and figures, not leftist propaganda. It’s indisputable that poverty and inequality are becoming problems in this country. Yet the issue is still being discussed largely as if it is rhetorical. What’s it going to take for Americans to realize that these issues need to be confronted and addressed constantly, rather than only when such news first emerges?