Last Wednesday, September 12th, the US Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty in America.
While we’ve been hearing for a while that the economy still in a healthy upswing since the recession nearly a decade ago, the numbers show another reality. Unemployment is unbelievably low, and the economy is growing at a robust rate, but the recovery hasn’t helped everyone. Even as incomes grew slightly in the past year, the poverty rate only fell slightly to 12.3%, with over 40 million Americans living below the official poverty line. The supplemental poverty measure, more reflective of the actual cost of living in America, is even higher, at 13.9%. That’s not any better than 2016.
Not only are things not improving for the poor, they’re getting worse. The number of people living below half of the poverty line has increased from 3.5% to 5.7% since 1975.
Evidently, the growth of the recovery hasn’t been shared. However, this isn’t stopping the current administration from celebrating victory (and an end) in the War on Poverty and readying to shrink welfare programs such as food and housing assistance.