Market Overview

U.S. Poverty Rate: 1959 to 2009


According to the recent Census Bureau report (historical data here), the poverty rate in the U.S. increased to 14.3% in 2009 from 13.2% in 2008 and 12.5% in 2007 (see chart above).  A few items of interest:

1. The poverty rate in 2009 (14.3%) was below the poverty rates in 1992 (14.8%), 1993 (15.1%) and 1994 (14.5%) following the 1990-1991 recession.  

2. The poverty rate in 2009 was below the rate in 1982 (15%), 1983 (15.2%) and 1984 (14.4%) following the 1980 and 1981-1982 recessions. 

3. The increase in the poverty rate (Table 5 in the report) associated with the recessions of the early 1980s was 3.8 percentage points (11.4% in 1978 to 15.2% in 1983), which is more than twice the 1.8 percentage point increase from 2007 (12.5%) to 2009 (14.3%).    

4. The poverty rates in recent years, and even the 15-year high of 14.3% rate in 2009, have been below the rates from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. 

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.


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