The Census Bureau released new data today on income, poverty, health insurance coverage and inequality for 2012. The news: there’s really no news. With another year of “recovery” under our belt, little has changed between 2011 and 2012.
Median household incomes were down ever-so-slightly – by $83 for the year. While this measure remained flat from the previous year, median incomes are still 8.3 percent less than they were in 2007, prior to the crash.
The share of Americans without health insurance fell slightly, from 15.7 percent to 15.4 percent. There was no statistically significant change in private coverage, but public health insurance programs covered more Americans last year than they did in 2011 – to the tune of a half percentage point.
The official poverty rate remained flat – according to the Census Bureau’s news release, “This marked the second consecutive year that neither the official poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from the previous year’s estimates.” The West was the only region with a statistically significant change in this measure, with the poverty rate dropping from 15.8 percent to 15.1 percent.
That’s the picture for the United States as a whole. Not everyone is treading water, however — according to economists Thomas Picketty and Emanuel Saez, the inflation-adjusted incomes of the top one percent of U.S. households increased by 19.6 percent between 2011 and 2012 (XLS).
Meanwhile, the sequester continues to have devastating consequences for the poor, and House Republicans are renewing their push to cut nutritional assistance by $40 billion over the next 10 years.