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New poverty data highlight the need for a public response

New data released today by the Census Bureau show that the official poverty rate rose for the eighth time in the last ten years to 15.1 percent – up from 14.3 percent in 2009.  This means that 46.2 million people were living in poverty, the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published. Preliminary poverty data for North Carolina show that the poverty rate increased to 17.2 percent in 2009/2010.

Looking at the national poverty rate by age, race and disability shows that already vulnerable groups saw increases in poverty. Between 2009 and 2010, the poverty rate for children increased from 20.7 percent to 22.0 percent (16.4 million American children lived in poverty in 2010). The poverty rate increased for black or African Americans to 27.4 percent from 25.8 percent. It increased for Hispanics to 26.6 percent from 25.3 percent the year before. For those with a disability (between the ages of 18 and 64), the poverty rate increased to 27.9 percent from 25.0 percent.

These figures are staggering and the implications could be devastating. Statistics have shown that families living below the poverty line are the most likely to face daily hardships, including hunger and foregone doctor visits, and that living in poverty can have severe long-term damaging consequences.

Moreover, rising poverty puts our economic future at risk. Now is the time to invest in the building blocks of job creation and economic growth to work toward shared prosperity.

One Comment

  1. R.L.

    September 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Perhaps what we are finally seeing is the proof that the Keynesian economics argument that private sector decisions lead to insufficient macroeconomic outcomes and therefore, requires active policy responses by the public sector, including monetary policy actions by the central bank and fiscal policy actions by the government to stimulate the economy is simply wrong; George Bush spent us into a hole, and the current government run by the Democrats and Obama have doubled-down on the spending and regulations in an attempt to fix the economy, when the best fix is the opposite; Get government out of the way and let the free market prosper and do what it has historically done to make the US the economic power it has historically been. The government does not “invest”, nor create “prosperity”; It’s role should be to provide for defense, law and order, and an environment in which free people can take risks by investing their capital and reap the profits from their risk taking. Under the current regime’s efforts to have government regulate and control every aspect of life, we are, like the old failed USSR, becoming a nation of poor, disincentivesed, people dependent on the meager crumbs big government is wiling to wastefully dole out. 2012 is nearing… we can fix this, but only by sending true fiscal conservatives to DC.