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Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States: 2008 - Highlights

The data presented here are from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), the source of official poverty estimates. The CPS ASEC is a sample survey of approximately 100,000 households nationwide. These data reflect conditions in calendar year 2008.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • The official poverty rate in 2008 was 13.2 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2007. This was the first statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004, when poverty increased to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent in 2003.
  • In 2008, 39.8 million people were in poverty, up from 37.3 million in 2007 -- the second consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty.
  • In 2008, the poverty rate increased for non-Hispanic Whites (8.6 percent in 2008 -- up from 8.2 percent in 2007), Asians (11.8 percent in 2008 -- up from 10.2 percent in 2007) and Hispanics (23.2 percent in 2008 -- up from 21.5 percent in 2007). Poverty rates in 2008 were statistically unchanged for Blacks (24.7 percent).
  • The poverty rate in 2008 (13.2 percent) was the highest poverty rate since 1997 but was 9.2 percentage points lower than in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available.
  • Since 1960, the number of people below poverty has not exceeded the 2008 figure of 39.8 million people. [1]
  • The poverty rate increased for children under 18 years old (19.0 percent in 2008 -- up from 18.0 percent in 2007) and people 18 to 64 years old (11.7 percent in 2008 -- up from 10.9 percent in 2007), while it remained statistically unchanged for people 65 years and over (9.7 percent). [2]

Footnotes:

[1]The 2008 number is not significantly different from 1993, 1962, 1961, 1960 and 1959 estimates.

[2] Unrelated individuals under 15 are excluded from the poverty universe; therefore there are 442,000 fewer children in the poverty universe than in the total population.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division: Poverty |  Last Revised: June 22, 2010