We make less money, the poor are still poor and more have insurance, Census shows

The U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday released its Current Population Survey (CPS), showing national income, poverty, and health insurance coverage estimates.


  1. In 2011, real median income saw its second annual, consecutive drop; the poverty rate was not statistically different from 2010 following three years of increases and the number of people without health insurance declined.
  2. Median household income falls

  3. David Johnson, chief of the Census Bureau's Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division, said during a webinar that real median household income was $50,100 in 2011, or 1.5 percent lower than in 2010. "Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, median household income has declined 8.1 percent and was 8.9 percent below its recent high achieved in 1999. Since 1967, the first year household data was collected, real median household income has increased 19.0 percent."
  4. Poverty persists

  5. The official poverty rate in 2011 was 15 percent and the number of people in poverty was 46.2 million, neither figure is statistically different from 2010, Johnson said.
  6. The poverty rate and number of people in poverty among those living in the South, inside metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) but outside principal cities (suburbs) and noncitizens decreased. In all those groups there was a shift from part-time work during a portion of the year to full-time, year-round work, Johnson said. "These increases in full-time, year-round employment may have contributed to the fall in the number of persons in poverty and the poverty rates for these groups," he said.
  7. Fewer Americans uninsured

  8. The percentage and number of people without health insurance coverage decreased to 15.7 percent, or 48.6 million in 2011, down from 16.3 percent or 50 million in 2010.
  9. People aged 19 to 25 had a decreased uninsured rate by 2.2 percentage points. Johnson said 40 percent of the young people in that pool can be attributed to remaining on their parents plan, which could have implications for health care reform. But he was careful to say people in this age group could be staying on their parents' plans "for reasons other than the law." 
    Consumers aged 35 to 44 and those aged 65 and over also saw decreases in their uninsured rate.
  10. Compared with 2010, the uninsured rate decreased for non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks and Asians in 2011. The uninsured rate for Hispanics in 2011 was not statistically different from the rate in 2010.