Adding Context to the Census Bureau’s Report on the Rise in Poverty Rate

Sep 13, 2011

The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the nation’s poverty rate grew to 15.1% in 2010, an increase for the third year in a row, and that median household income declined in 2010. Pew Research Center reports have documented the impact of the Great Recession and shaky recovery on Americans’ wealth, work lives, personal finances and emotional well-being–finding, for example, that more than half of working American report a job-related hardship. Recent public opinion surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press have found that Americans are wary of providing increased spending for the poor and needy.

One recent analysis concluded that the gap in wealth between white households and households of blacks and Hispanics was the largest in 2009 since the government began publishing data on this topic a quarter century ago. The data on wealth—that is, assets minus debts—come from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation.

According to the report, about a quarter of all Hispanic (24%) and black (24%) households in 2009 had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just 6% of white households.

Read the full report, Adding Context to the Census Bureau’s Report on the Rise in Poverty Rate, on the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Web site.

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