U.S. Census: Despite Rising Corporate Profits, Poor and Middle-Class Income Remains Flat, Poverty Levels Stagnate

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Posted Sept. 25, 2013

Interview with Stephen Pimpare, author of “A People’s History of Poverty in America”, conducted by Scott Harris

poverty

The sluggish economic recovery from the depths of the Great Recession that began in 2008 hasn’t yet reached the nation’s poor and middle class, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report for 2012. The data reveals that as two million more jobs were created last year and the nation’s corporations raked in big profits, the average income of American households remained frozen.

Further, the report found that 46.5 million people are living below the poverty line in America, or 15 percent of the total population – the same rate as in 2011, but a larger overall number. Poverty income is calculated at $23,492 in annual income for a family of four. Those living in poverty included an estimated 16.1 million children and 3.9 million senior citizens age 65 years and older.

Many of the jobs created since 2008 have been in the service sector with hourly pay at or near the minimum wage. The stagnating economy has provoked new labor union organizing drives among poorly paid retail sector and fast food workers. About the only good news in the Census report was a slight decline in the number of people without health insurance, attributed in part to the new Affordable Care Act. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Columbia University adjunct professor of social work, Stephen Pimpare, who is author of the book, "A People's History of Poverty in America.” Here he assesses the significance of the Census bureau data and public policy options to alleviate poverty and reverse the nation’s growing income inequality.

For more information on "People's History of Poverty in America," visit TheNewPress.com.

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