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Poverty Rate Stagnant While Inequality Rises

Half in Ten
 

2011 found 46.2 million Americans in poverty, 15% of the population, which was statistically the same as 2010 according to a new report from Half in Ten. The Right Choices to Cut Poverty and Restore Shared Prosperity is a year report Half in Ten issues to track the progress America is making towards Half in Ten’s goal of cutting poverty in half by 2020.

This report features a new indicator - income inequality - which found that while poverty levels did not change from 2010 to 2011, income inequality actually grew. This new indicator shows the rising inequality in the Unites States - the top 20% of Americans account for more than 50% of all income, the top 5% earn 22.3% of income, and the bottom 20% earns only 2.3% of all income.  Compounding this issue is the federal minimum wage, which used to be half the average wage, but now it is just one third the average wage, contributing to the stagnant wages faced by low wage workers according to the report.

The report features 21 poverty indicators, some of which explore how federal assistance programs have affected the rate of poverty.  While the report found that many federal assistance programs kept people out of poverty, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and health insurance coverage, many of the policies in place limit the reach of the programs.

The full report is available here

 
 

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