New Report: Americans Are Slowly Starting to Climb Out of Poverty

October 1, 2014

First Decrease Since 2006

Dulce Gamboa, Latino Outreach Associate, Bread for the World

(Washington, DC, Wednesday, October 1, 2014) –
According to new data released from the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans are slowly starting to climb out of poverty.  The poverty rate decreased slightly—by 0.5 percent—last year.  It is the first time a decrease has been seen since 2006. The bureau announced that 14.5 percent of Americans lived in poverty in 2013.

Additionally, child poverty declined for the first time since 2000, from 21.8 percent to 19.9 percent. The figures are part of the Bureau’s annual report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013.

The reduction in poverty reflects the decrease in unemployment. In 2013, the annual unemployment rate was 7.4 percent. The most recent data from August 2014 show unemployment at 6.1 percent. This drop is partly due to 2.8 million more people moving to full-time, year-round employment.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, between 2009 and 2013, the top 5 percent of workers saw hourly wages rise by 1 percent, while the bottom 60 percent saw hourly wages fall by 4 to 6 percent. Higher incomes among high-income people and corporations have mainly shown up in higher stock prices, and companies have been slow to invest in the real economy. 

According to the Census Bureau, poverty rates in the Hispanic community decreased from 25.6 percent to 23.5 percent. The African-American community saw a slower decrease from 27.2 percent to 27.1 percent.

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