New Report: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States

Posted by on September 1, 2008

Quick: How many American kids are living in poverty?

If you answered about 13 million, you’re close to the actual figure … enough to fill about 200 football stadiums seating more than 65,000 youngsters each. Indeed, according a new report by the Census Bureau, the latest kids-in-poverty figure (it’s for 2007) comes to 13.3 million children younger than 18, or 18 percent of the population in that age group. That’s about half a million more than in the previous year. Among black kids, nearly 40 percent were below the poverty line, compared with 28.6 percent of Hispanic youths, 14.9 percent of whites, and 11.9 percent of Asians. That compelling situation comes to light amid other statistics showing that the overall poverty rate in the U.S. last year was 12.5 percent (versus 12.3 percent a year earlier), that household income was up a bit (to $50,233), and that the number of people without health insurance dropped to 45.7 million from 47 million. All the same, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), for one, was outraged by the new statistics on poverty-stricken kids. Marian Wright Edelman, the group’s president, said the data amounted to “yet another loud alarm about how far off course our country remains in providing a just and moral society for all of America’s children.” Pointing to yet another Census Bureau finding, she called it “unconscionable that in our nation — the richest in the world — nearly 9 million children are uninsured.” Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal quotes Desmond Lachman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, as noting that the picture from the Census Bureau was etched “before the U.S. economy started taking some of its worst blows. Poverty and income figures for 2008, when they’re released a year from now, may make 2007 look quite good in comparison.” Today, Lachman adds, the economy is reeling from “a variety of shocks of a very big magnitude that are showing no sign of abating.”

See the Census Bureau’s report at

Read the CDF press release at

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