This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Last Year Was Not a Good One--But You Knew That Anyway

The US Census Bureau has released the results of the March 2010 Current Population Survey as they relate to income, poverty, and insurance coverage. The report covers income during 2009 and compares it to the results for 2008. Thus, it cuts through what we hope will have been the worst time of the current deep recession. The overall findings were as follows:

  • The median household income in 2009 was not statistically different from the 2008 median in real terms.
  • The poverty rate increased between 2008 and 2009.
  • The uninsured rate and number of people without health insurance increased between 2008 and 2009.

The press hyped the increase in the poverty rate, and these data will certainly be featured in this year's congressional election. At the same time, the fact that the median household income did not change between those two years has to be seen as an encouraging economic sign. To be sure, some groups dropped a bit and others gained a bit, but overall there was not much movement with respect to overall household income, and the Gini coefficient of income inequality was also unchanged between 2008 and 2009.

These data are not from the 2010 census, of course, and those data will not become available until New Year's Eve, according to the Census Directors's blog. In the meantime, though, we will have lots of other data coming our way as we prepare for the "big show."

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