Bad News for Households

The Census Bureau released on September 13, 2011 their key findings for Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010. The following facts were lifted from the press release.

Real median household income in the United States in 2010 was $49,445, a 2.3 percent decline from the 2009 median.

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009 ─ the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 ─ the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010, while the percentage without coverage −16.3 percent – was not statistically different from the rate in 2009.

My thoughts are below:

The numbers above verify what many people have feared as we work through this economic downturn. Charts within the release showed the following: The region that realized the most reduction in median household income was the West. The region that realized the most increase in poverty was the South. The region that realized the most increase in people without health insurance coverage was the Northeast.

The unemployment rate remains stubbornly at 9.1% and others are under-employed, which one would assume has certainly contributed to the increases seen in this report. I am not sure that the jobs plan presented by President Obama will create that many new jobs. I do believe it will encourage employers to hire if they were already on the fence about hiring or not. I just read that retailers will scale back their holiday hiring, which is even more evidence that retailers are not enthused about this season’s prospects. I would like to see the works portion of the President’s plan be enacted. It will put people to work and as well as spending, it will eventually be an investment in our nation’s infrastructure.

There certainly is enough pain to go around. However, along with the pain, I have read where persons are standing tall by working one or more part-time jobs, starting their own businesses or finding other creative ways to maintain their existence. Some are going back to school, finding new careers. Even if more education does not lead to work right away it at least offers more opportunities in the future. The downside occurs if the education was paid for with borrowed money which could lead to continued unemployment coupled with more debt.

It is the struggle for survival and our imaginations that will propel us through this recession. It is our adaptiveness that will enable us to find new business models and services. Our ingenuity will create new technologies and adapt older ones just as the automobile replaced the horse. Even though some technologies seem to wipe out one sector, it sometimes can create completely new sectors of support and specialties.

I do believe that we will work through this, not only here in the U.S. but globally.



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