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Troubling New Data On U.S. Household Incomes, Health Care Coverage, And Poverty Indicate Families Continue To Experience Tough Economic Times

Aug 26 2008


 JEC Examination of Census Figures Released Today Shows U.S. Families Are in Worse Economic Shape Now Than in 2000 – Household Incomes Are Down, More Have No Health Insurance, and Poverty Is Up

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released statements in reaction to today’s troubling new data from the U.S. Census Bureau on household incomes, health care coverage, and poverty.  While wages have risen slightly from 2006 to 2007 and fewer families are without health insurance coverage, over 30 million Americans are still living in poverty.  More importantly, in the last seven years, the vast majority of Americans’ incomes are down, more families are going without health insurance, and millions more are living in poverty. 

Sen. Schumer said, “The U.S. economy under President Bush is suffering one of the worst downturns in a generation.  Since 2000, more Americans are earning less and are faced with rising household bills, more families are without health insurance, and more American families are living in poverty.  Today’s Census figures paint a bleak economic picture that Americans are tired of looking at – and one that they can and will change come November.”

Rep. Maloney said, "Families made some progress last year, but the current downturn will surely erase those gains if we don't change course. Since President Bush took office, nearly six million more Americans are living in poverty, over seven million more lack health insurance, and median family income is $324 lower. For the first time on record, families are facing a downturn having not yet recovered economically from the last recession. We need a new direction that gets the economy back on track, puts people back to work and restores broadly shared prosperity.” 

The Census data, further crunched by the majority staff of the Joint Economic Committee can be found at Poverty, Wages, and Health Insurance in America, brief facts are below:

• Real median household income for the nation decreased 0.6 percent from $50,557 in 2000 to $50,233 in 2007.
• Americans living in poverty increased by nearly 5.7 million since 2000 and the poverty rate has risen more than a full percentage point since 2000. The poverty rate in 2007 was 12.5 percent, increasing slightly from its level of 12.3 percent in 2006. Today, 37.3 million Americans are living in poverty.  
• The number of people without health insurance coverage increased by 18.8 percent or 7.2 million Americans from 2000 to 2007.  The uninsured rate fell slightly to 15.3 percent in 2007 from 15.8 percent in 2006, mainly due to increases in government coverage.

Direct links to each JEC fact sheet are here:
• Poverty in America

• Income in America

• Health Insurance in America

The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

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