A portrait in statistics

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Racism and health insurance

Close to 19 percent of all people in the United States who were be low 65 years old and not in prison did not have health insurance in the first half of 2003. But that tells only half the story. While 14.5 percent of whites had no health insurance in this period, 20.8 percent of African Americans had no insurance. For Latinos, the figure was 35.7 percent.

Source: “The Uninsured in America, 2003: Estimates for the U.S. Population under 65,” Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (June 2004)

Photo: Bill Hackwell

Poor getting poorer, faster than ever

The average amount by which poor people fell further below the poverty line ?has increased sharply since 1996, and was 23 percent ?larger in 2002 than in 1996, after adjusting for inflation.

Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Poverty Increases and Median Income Declines for Second Consecutive Year.” (Sept. 26, 2003)

Photo: Bill Hackwell

More children join the ranks of the poor

In 2002, the number of children in poverty increased by nearly one-half million (maintaining a rate of 16.7%). Children under 6 living in female-headed households were particularly vulnerable to poverty: 48.6% were poor.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Poverty in the U.S.: 2002” (September 2003)

Photo: Bill Hackwell

U.S. leads industrialized world in wealth-and in poverty

The United States has one of the highest poverty rates of all industrialized countries, whether poverty is measured using an absolute or a relative standard for determining who is poor. The per capita income in the U.S. is the highest in the world (except for Luxembourg), and is more than 30 percent higher than in the rest of the industrialized countries.

Source: Smeeding, Rainwater, and Burtless, “U.S. Poverty in a Cross-National Context” (September 2000)

Photo: Bill Hackwell

The working homeless and the unlivable minimum wage

In 2003, over 3.5 million people experienced homelessness; approximately 40% worked either full or part-time during a given month. A person with a fulltime job paying the minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom home at the fair market rent in any state in the United States.

Source: Interagency Council on Homelessness, Homelessness: Programs and the People They Serve-Findings of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients 5-1 (1999); National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach, 2003: America’s Housing Wage Climbs 4 (2003)

Hunger in capitalism’s most developed economy

Between 1999 and 2002, the number of households that experienced food insecurity increased from 10.5 million to 12.1 million. (Center on Poverty and Hunger, 2003) (USDA defines “food insecurity” as meaning that “a household had limited or uncertain availability of food, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. …”)

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Recent Welfare Reform Research Findings” (Jan. 1, 2004)

Statistics compiled by Ben Becker
Photos by Bill Hackwell

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