6 takeaways from the Census’ report on poverty

The latest report from the US Census Bureau investigates trends in poverty across the US.

While the poverty rates and median income didn’t change dramatically from 2013 to 2014, the report still paints a troubling portrait of the persistence of

  1. The overall poverty rate is now at 14.8%– that’s 46.7 million Americans. The workforce (individuals employed full time) increased between 2013 and 2014. Earnings, however, have not increased. This means that more people have found full-time work, but wages remain stagnant.
  2. Children. 1 in 5 children in the US live in poverty (21.1%). That’s about 15 million children– and up from 2007, when 18% of children lived lived under the poverty line. Up to 3 in 10 of all children in the US, regardless of race, will live in poverty for at least some point in their lives. This has lasting effects, such as the likelihood of graduating from high school.
  3. Racial disparities. Over 1/3 (36%) of black children live below the poverty line. In 2007, fewer than 34% fell into that category. The rate of poverty among African Americans is 26.2% (the only group with an uptick in poverty since 2013), 23.6% for Hispanics, and 12% for Asians, and 10.1% for whites. Poverty by race 2014 Praxia Partners
  4. Older adults. When measuring poverty among older adults (65+ years old), experts regularly turn to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which is generally considered far more accurate as it takes into account medical expenses and other costs of living that disproportionately affect seniors. The official poverty measure for seniors is about 10%, whereas the Supplemental Poverty Measure reveals it to be closer to 14%.
  5. Praxia Partners studies poverty rates 2013 to 2014Women. Nearly twice as many older women live in poverty than older men. Of working individuals, the report notes, “The 2014 female-to-male earnings ratio was 0.79, not statistically different from the 2013 ratio.”
  6. Ohio. While we at Praxia Partners pay close attention to national trends, we also keep an eye on what’s happening in our homebase of Ohio. Ohio’s poverty rate of 15.8% remains higher than the national average. The state ranks 35th in average annual income, just under $50,000. Nearly half of children in Youngstown, Dayton, and Cleveland live under the poverty level.

About Holly

Holly Jensen is a writer and poet who has worked with nonprofits and businesses for over a decade. She also serves as editor of The Ghazal Page, an international literary journal.
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