WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) — The Census Bureau reports the number of Americans in poverty stood at 15 percent in 2012.
About 46.5 million people, or more than 1 in 7, were in poverty in 2012. That is not statistically different from 2011.
According to the Washington Post, the U.S. poverty rate measurements have changed very little since the Johnson Administration: “The income threshold used to determine if a person or household is in poverty has not changed, other than inflation adjustments, since 1963-64 It was originally calculated as the amount below which a family of three or more would have to spend more than a third of its income on food,” reports the Post.
It was the sixth straight year that the poverty rate had failed to improve, hurt by persistently high levels of unemployment after the housing bust.
The number of people lacking health insurance dipped from 15.7 percent to 15.4 percent, with the number of the uninsured statistically unchanged at 48 million. Main provisions of the new health law don’t take effect until 2014.
The statistics released Tuesday cover 2012, when U.S. unemployment averaged 8.1 percent.
The median household income was $51,000, unchanged from 2011.
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