One in five children in USA living in poverty

More than one in five children in the USA are living in poverty, according to new figures released by the official Census Bureau. The report also reveals growing inequality between 2010 and 2011, and a decline in median household income.

Key points

  • In 2011, 21.9 per cent of children under 18 (16.1 million) were in poverty, along with 13.7 per cent of people aged 18-64 (26.5 million) and 8.7 per cent of people aged 65 and over (3.6 million). These figures were broadly in line with those for 2010.
  • Income inequality increased by 1.6 per cent between 2010 and 2011 (based on the Gini index). This was the first annual increase since at least 1993, the earliest year available for comparable measures.
  • Income inequality also increased when measured by shares of aggregate household income received by quintile groups. The aggregate share fell for the middle and fourth quintiles, whereas it increased by 1.6 per cent for the highest quintile. Changes for the lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant.
  • Median family household income fell by 1.7 per cent in real terms between 2010 and 2011, to $62,273. In 2011, real median household income was 8.1 per cent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession, and 8.9 per cent lower than the peak in 1999.

Source: Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette Proctor and Jessica Smith, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011, US Census Bureau
Links: Report | Census Bureau press release | CLASP press release | Guardian report

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