New US data reflects economic hard times

Incomes and home values fell in the United States
last year, and poverty grew
© AFP/Getty Images/File Scott Olson

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Incomes and home values fell in the United States last year, and poverty grew, according to US government census data Thursday that laid bare the impact of economic hard times.

In a sweeping statistical snapshot of the nation, titled the American Community Survey, the Census Bureau said real median household income in 2010 slipped 2.2 percent from the previous year, from $51,190 to $50,046.

Feeling the pinch hardest were residents of Nevada, Connecticut and Vermont, where household incomes dropped 6.1 percent.

For a second year running, real median home value fell from $185,200 in 2009 to $179,900 in 2010, with the highest home values to be found in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington, DC.

The percentage of all families under the poverty line meanwhile grew from 10.5 percent in 2009 to 11.3 percent last year — with 47.4 percent of single-mother households with children under five living in poverty.

In a separate report last week, the Census Bureau said 15.1 percent of all Americans were living in poverty last year.

The official federal poverty line is set at $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for a single person.

Poverty grew faster in New York City last year than elsewhere in the United States, with more than 1.6 million or 20.1 percent of New Yorkers living in poverty, up from 18.7 percent and the highest level since 2000.

“Low-income New Yorkers have been hard hit by the recession and continuing jobs crisis,” said Community Service Society of New York president David Jones, with Latinos and those without a high school diploma hardest hit.

In another barometer of the sluggish US economy, the number of workers employed in construction fell 8.8 percent in the year to 2010, the Census Bureau said.

The Census Bureau put the overall US population last year at 309.3 million people. Forty million — or 12.9 percent — who were born outside the country, a majority of them from Latin America.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

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