Census: 2008 saw drop in median income along with rise in uninsured Americans

A new look at economic data from 2008 by the U.S. Census Bureau shows a troubling increase in poverty and uninsured along with a drop in median household income before the peak of the current recession had even taken place in 2009.

A new look at economic data from 2008 by the U.S. Census Bureau shows a troubling increase in poverty and uninsured along with a drop in median household income before the peak of the current recession had even taken place in 2009.

According to the survey, which documented income, poverty, and health insurance coverage across the U.S. in 2008, the nationwide poverty rate saw an increase from 12.5 in 2007 to 13.2 in 2008, the first increase seen by the Bureau since 2004.

Perhaps in accordance with that data, the real median household income across the country declined for the first time in three years, dropping from $52,163 to $50,303.

According to Elise Gould, the director of health policy research for the Employment Policy Institute, the 2008 data regarding income was just the "tip of the iceberg" and that the worsening conditions would lead to a second "significant drop" in 2009, the Silicon Valley Mercury News reported.

The same could be said for the insurance data in the survey, which showed that even though the percentage of Americans without health insurance in 2008 was not changed from 2007 at 15.4 percent, the actual number of uninsured people had increased from 45.7 million in 2007 to 46.3 million in 2008.

"It's locked in now - fewer and fewer companies are going to cover health care," said Ron Haskins, a former senior adviser to the president for welfare policy for President George W. Bush administration of the trends seen in 2008 and their effect on the current economy, according to the Mercury News. "That is going to put more and more pressure on government to do something."

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Posted: September 11, 2009

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