Poverty Rates DownExcept for Underrepresented Groups

By Julissa Catalan


Photo by Shutterstock

According to a new report from the Census Bureau, the country’s poverty rate decreased last year for the first time in six years.

From 2012 to 2013, the poverty rate dropped from 15 percent to 14.5 percentthe largest decline since 2000.

Yet this promising drop still does not bring the U.S. above pre-recession numbers. In 2006, the poverty rate was 12.3 percent.

These stats mean that 45 million Americans are considered to be living in poverty.

While this decline is good news for our country as a whole, the numbers show that when it comes to race and gender, the income gap remains wide.

Per the data collected, women are still only making three-quarters of what men typically make for the same job. Meanwhile, Black and Latino families still make thousands less than Asians and whites.

More striking, one in five children still live below the poverty level.

Underrepresented Groups Still Make Less

The average income for Americans in 2013 was $51,939. That is up slightly from $51,759 in 2012, but it is 8 percent lower than the $56,436 average from 2007. The record high for the U.S. came in 1999, when Americans brought home an average of $56,895.

The same can be said for the racial gap. The median income for Latino families only increased 3.5 percent from 2012 to 2013. Additionally, Latinos had a poverty rate of 23.5 percent in 2013.

The Black poverty rate was 27.2 percentthe same as in 2012 and higher than the pre-recession rate of 24.3. More than 11 million Black Americans lived below the poverty line in 2013.

Women Make Less Than MenWhen They Can Find Jobs

Women continue to make about 78 cents per every dollar men earn. Women are also less likely to have a full-time job and more likely to be considered living below the poverty line.

Single mothers account for a large number of Americans living in povertyan estimated 15.6 million. Black single mothers make up 42.5 percent of that number.

20 Percent of Minors Live in Poverty

Twenty percent of female children and 19.8 percent of male children lived in poverty in 2013, and that was actually down from 2012. If that seems high, that’s because children are overrepresentedthey make up 23.5 percent of the population but 32.2 percent of people in poverty.

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