The US Census Bureau released its report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage during 2009. The report shows 43.6 million people were living in poverty in 2009, up 3.7 million since 2008. It was the largest number of people in poverty recorded since the agency started collecting data.
African American average household income – lower already than every other group-- dropped by 4.4 percentage points from $34,088 in 2008 to $32,584 in 2009. No other group lost so much ground – likely connected to the far higher unemployment rate for African Americans.
The nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008 — the second statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004. Men and women who worked full-time year round saw gains in their income, but working age adults lost income – again connected to the increase in unemployment and part-time employment.
The number of people living without health insurance climbed to 50.7 million in 2009 from 46.3 million in 2008.
"This would be the largest number of uninsured since we started collecting," said a census representative, "A lot of it is due to the changes in employment status"
The figure reflects a decline in people who have private insurance or employment-related insurance. At the same time the number of people covered by government-funded medical care, such as Medicaid and Medicare increased, and there was no significant change in the number of children without health insurance.