Friday 15 December 2017

Americans struggle to recover from recession – census data

THE number of Americans living in poverty remains close to a two-decade high as the country struggles to fully recover from the economic recession, according to new census data.

The proportion of those living in poverty was 15pc in 2012, while median household income was $51,017 (€38,199), both little changed from the previous year.

Almost 22pc of Americans under the age of 18 were in poverty in 2012, according to the US Census Bureau.

The data shows that recent economic expansion hasn't broadened to all Americans. Rising stock prices and home values have boosted the finances of the more affluent, while those on the lowest tiers contend with high unemployment and stagnant wages.

The one bright spot in the findings was a modest improvement in the area of health care. The number of Americans who lack insurance declined to 48 million last year from 48.6 million in 2011, as many under 26 took advantage of a provision in President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare law that allowed them to be covered under their parents' plans.

This is the second straight year of improvement in coverage. The trend looks set to continue; while some parts of Mr Obama's reforms have taken effect, the most critical provision – the creation of government-run insurance exchanges – will only start rolling out next month.

Irish Independent

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