New Census Bureau data shows increased poverty, decreased income; students largely unaffected
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 01:09
The Census Bureau released the data from its 2011 American Community Survey on Sept. 12, showing the public that, across the U.S. and in Texas, the poverty rate, median income and the rate of young people with health insurance have changed; yet most students haven’t noticed these changes around them.
According to the survey, real median household income has decreased 1.3 percent from 2010 to 2011, from $51,144 to $50,502. The poverty rate increased for the fourth year in a row, although the rate of growth for 2010-2011 is lower than in previous years. It has increased .6 percent, showing that there’s an additional 2.3 million people in poverty from 2010. The insured rate for young people has decreased .8 percent since 2009 for 26-29 year olds, and has been steadily decreasing. The rate for 19-25 year olds, however, has increased 3.6 percent since 2009 because of the provision of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 allowing dependents to remain on their guardians’ health care plan until the age of 25.
In Texas, these numbers differ only slightly. Texas experience a 1.2 percent decrease in income, going from $50,010 to $49,392. The poverty rate increased from 17.9 percent to 18.5 percent, indicating that 214,277 more Texans are in poverty. Health insurance rates for people ages 19-25 went from 56.5 to 59.3, a 2.7 percent increase.
When students were asked if they noticed any of this in their lives or the lives of those around them, most couldn’t think of any example. One student, however, did. Amber Spell, a sophomore, had this to say about her mom: “her hours were decreased a lot…she works eight hour days, and they took a day off her check so it made a big difference.” Some students said they don’t know about their friends and family because they don’t ask about it. Others simply said no.
“I don’t keep track of that stuff,” said senior Giovanni Trimino.
The American Community Survey is done every year by the U.S. Census Bureau to generate data. This data is used by local, state, and federal governments to help decide how more than $400 billion in taxpayer dollars are distributed each year, such as for school lunch programs or new hospitals. Each year, they take a random sample of about 3.3 million Americans, about 1 percent of the population, and generate these statistics. They ask about a variety of topics, such as food stamp benefits, cost of utilities, education level, and many others.