10/8/15 Poverty


President Lyndon Johnson famously announced his “war on poverty” when one in six Americans were considered poor.  Half a century and trillions in government spending later poverty still accounts for one in six Americans.  This figure currently stands at nearly 47 million.

The U.S. Census Bureau just released its 2014 report on income and poverty.

Here are some highlights:

Median household income was about 54,000 dollars.  A slight drop from 2013.  And nearly identical to 1996.

The median household income in 2014 was six and a half percent lower than 2007 –“ the year before the recession.  Americans are earning less.  While the cost of living’s increased.

Median income in a household headed by an immigrant increased by 4.3%.  While households maintained by native-born declined by 2.3%.

The number of men and women working full-time, year-round increased by 1.2 and 1.6 million.  This suggests part-time, part-year workers are shifting into full-time, year-round employment.

This last category is especially significant. Only three percent of full-time, year-round workers live in poverty.

Put another way, 97% of the people who work full-time, year-round live above the poverty level.

This is important because the movement to increase the minimum wage — while it may be well-intentioned — doesn’t address the most critical issue.

It’s not necessarily how much a lower-skilled worker earns hourly but rather it’s working year-round in a full-time job that matters most.

The entire report is on our website.

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