US Poverty Rate Dips, but Uninsured Swell

Income inequality reaches all-time high
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2007 4:30 AM CDT
US Poverty Rate Dips, but Uninsured Swell
A group of children make their way home from a grade school in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007, in Cincinnati. Ohio has the distinction of having two cities in the U.S. Census Bureau's list of poorest big cities, with Cincinnati third, and Cleveland fourth. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)   (Associated Press)

The US poverty rate has finally taken a downturn for the first time in 10 years, census figures show. The poverty rate was 12.3% in 2006, down from 12.6% the previous year, and annual household income rose to $48,200. But the news isn't all rosy: the number of people without health insurance soared to a record 47 million, and income inequality has never been greater.

Fewer people have health insurance due to the continuing decline in employer-sponsored insurance coverage, census officials said. Even the income jump is misleading. It's mainly the result of more people working full-time jobs in a single household, rather than an increase in wages. The White House called them "good numbers," but Democrats see them as evidence of flawed economic policies. (More poverty stories.)

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