September 17th, 2013 | Posted in Income/Poverty
by Mark Mather, associate vice president, U.S. Programs
New income and poverty estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, released today, present a mixed picture of the U.S. economic recovery.
It’s good news that poverty rates have not increased, and incomes have stabilized. But the new data, which reflect income received in 2012, show that many families have a long way to go, just to get back to pre-recession levels of income. In fact, what’s most remarkable about these numbers is how little they have changed: Few population groups saw any change in median income or poverty from 2011 to 2012, despite the decline in the unemployment rate during this period, from 8.9 percent to 8.1 percent.
There are some signs of recovery in cities, where median income increased from $44,481 in 2011 to $45,902 in 2012. But this was offset by an increase in the number of poor people living in rural areas, from 8 million to 8.5 million. Many rural communities were in decline before the onset of the recession, and these areas may be falling even further behind in the recession’s aftermath.