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.