A snapshot of poverty in the U.S.
From The LA Times
A new Census Bureau report confirms that the slowly rising tide of the U.S. economy hasn't lifted all boats. The 20% of Americans with the highest incomes captured an even larger share of the earnings in 2011, while the rest collected the same share or less. The widening income inequality is disturbing, but as the report shows, things could have been considerably worse. Without such safety net programs as unemployment benefits and food stamps, millions more families would have fallen into poverty.
The bureau's annual reports on income, poverty and health insurance are like group photos taken from an extremely high altitude. The year-to-year comparisons offered don't reveal anything about income mobility or the ability of people to move up (or down) the economic ladder. But they do show that the vast majority of Americans continue to see their fortunes slide. In 2011 the median income fell for the fifth year in a row, to $51,000 — a drop of 1.5%. It fell for all four ethnic groups tracked by the census (although only slightly for Latinos), and for women and men alike. The exception was in the top 20% of U.S. incomes, which held steady.
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