Increasing Poverty And More Uninsured In The US

The new U.S. Census Bureau publication “Poverty in the United States: 2001” shows an increase in poverty and a tie for the highest level of income inequality ever (if not a new record high, depending on the measures used). This should not be a surprise given the policies of the administration and the recent economic downturn.

The effects of this downturn have hurt even middle-income families -- with a decline, for the first time in ten years, of 2.2 percent in median household income across the country. Low-income and poor families have been especially devastated, with Congress and the president doing little to address problems of rising unemployment, Medicaid shortfalls due to state fiscal crises, and increases in the numbers without health insurance. (A US Census report released today shows an increase of Americans without health insurance from 14.2 percent in 2002 to 14.6 percent last year. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy priorities notes that without the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, the number of uninsured would be much higher.)

Instead, passage of the Bush tax cuts that largely go to wealthier Americans, including the repeal of the estate tax that affects less than 2 percent of the very wealthiest, only worsen the situation, and more tax cuts are being proposed. For more information about the Census data, see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis.

back to Blog