According to Census Bureau data released this morning, after three years of climbing, the nation’s overall poverty rate has plateaued at 15.1 percent.
With almost 50 million Americans unable to make ends meet, poverty remains stuck at the highest level in almost two decades. Official poverty for a family of four is defined as $23,021 and at $11,484 for an individual.
These record-levels of poverty point to an unending harsh situation for too many. But for people of color, youth, and women, the data is even more dire.
Close to 1 out of three blacks, and one out of four Latinos, is poor.
Poverty falls hardest children. One out of five in poverty is below the age of 18, double the rate for those over 65.
The poverty rate for women is 20 percent higher than that of men.
These numbers underscore the need to get our economy back on track, increase economic opportunities for young people, and the urgency for race, age, and gender-specific policies to turn things things around.
The report did include one bright spot. It seems as if President Obama’s health care law might be bearing fruit. Close to 1.5 million more people have health insurance.