Poverty surges in U.S. in 2010

Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty in 2010, according to The Washington Post.

During 2010, poverty reached its highest level since 1993, and median household income declined. Poverty increased for the fourth consecutive year as 46.2 million Americans lived below the poverty line—$22,314 per year for a family of four.

Several analysts have said these conditions may continue for an extended period because unemployment is projected to remain unusually high.

In 2010, median household income had declined by 7.1 percent since peaking in 1999. The bottom 10 percent of earners were affected most as their income declined by 12.1 percent since 1999; the top 10 percent experienced a 1.5 percent decline. The richest 1 percent is the only income group to experience significant gains.

The percentage of Americans without health coverage was statistically unchanged at 16.3 percent, but nearly 1 million more people were without insurance in 2010 compared with 2009. The share of Americans with employer-based coverage dropped from 56 percent to 55 percent, and the share of those covered by government insurance increased slightly to 31 percent.

Many analysts say poverty rose despite various government efforts, including the 2009 federal stimulus bill, which reportedly has kept unemployment from rising even more and has increased aid to the unemployed and poor.

"Without the infrastructure investments and various other provisions of the Recovery Act of 2009, employment would have been higher and incomes lower in 2010 than these figures show," says Shawn Fremstad, director of the Inclusive and Sustainable Economy Initiative at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Date : 9/15/2011