US Hunger & Poverty Facts

Jul 22, 2006 | Post a Comment

From: http://www.worldhungeryear.org/info_center/just_facts.asp

US Hunger & Poverty Facts

  • From 1967 to 2003, average household income (adjusted dollars) grew from $7.589 to 9,996 for those in the bottom 20%, and grew from $83,758 to $147,078 for those in the top 20%.1
  • In 2003, California had a poverty rate of 13.4%, compared to 9% in Virginia, 19.9% in Washington D.C., and 12.7% for the U.S. 1
  • For those living in poverty, the poverty gap per family member (defined as the total dollar amount short of the poverty line) grew from $1,873 to $3,018 (adjusted dollars) between 1975-2003. 1
  • From the years 1980-2000, average net income (adjusted dollars) for households with children grew by $876,300 for the top 1%, and grew by $2,000 for those in the bottom 20%. 1
  • While the number of persons at poverty level declined from 13.4% to 12.5% from 1987-2003, the number of persons on Medicaid grew from 8.4% to 12.4%1
  • Approximately 7.5 million workers (6% of the U.S. workforce) earn at or near the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.2
  • If the federal minimum wage had maintained its 1968 peak value, it would be $8.69 an hour today. 2
  • From 1956 to 1981, the minimum wage was approximately half of the average American workers wage; today it is about 30%. 2
  • In the 1960s and 70s, a full-time worker earning minimum wage could support a family of three at the poverty level. 2
  • Approximately 7.5 million workers (6% of the U.S. workforce) earn at or near the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour. 4
  • From 1956 to 1981, the minimum wage was approximately half of the average American workers wage; today it is about 30%. 4
  • In the 1960s and 70s, a full-time worker earning minimum wage could support a family of three at the poverty level. 4
  • Of those individuals directly affected by the most recent federal increase in the minimum wage, 70% were over the age of 19, and 35% of the income gains went to the poorest one-fifth of working households.2
  • Currently, 13 states have laws mandating a state minimum wage that exceeds the federal level by at least one dollar and is near half the average wage of workers in that state. 2
  • Housing costs continue to squeeze the budgets of low-income families. The typical household in poverty paid 64% of its income for housing in 2003, up from 61% in 1997. 3
  • One of every 12 (8.3%) elderly Whites were poor in 1999, compared to 22.7% of elderly African-Americans and 20.4% of elderly Hispanics. 4
  • A worker earning minimum wage would have to work 97 hours a week to pay the rent of an average two-bedroom apartment. 5
  • Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic. In 2001, 26.4% of female-headed families were poor, while 13.1% of male-headed families and 4.9% of married couple’s households lived in poverty. In 2001, both black and Hispanic female-headed families had poverty rates exceeding 35%. 6
  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors reports that in 2004, requests for emergency food assistance increased an average of 13%. The study also found that 56% of those requesting emergency food assistance were employed. High housing costs, low-paying jobs, unemployment, and the economic downturn led the list of reasons contributing to the rise. 7

Source material:

  1. Just the Facts: Poverty in Los Angeles Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty, US Poverty, Income and Health Insurance Data, March 2003.
  2. Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Minimum Wage: Creating an Asset Foundation.
  3. Hunger, Crowding, and Other Hardships are Widespread among Families in Poverty, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 2004.
  4. “Poverty in the United States: 1999, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, pg.60-210.
  5. Institute for Children and Poverty, Homeless in America: A Children’s Story – Part One (New York, NY: 1999); Twombly, Out of Reach: The Growing Gap Between Housing Costs and Income of Poor People in the United States (Washington, DC: The National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2000).
  6. Hunger and Homelessness Survey 2004, 1. U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty in the United States: 2001, P-60, no. 219: Table 1.
  7. U.S. Conference of Mayors – Sodexho USA, December 2004.
Posted by | Categories: Facts and Figures |


About Scott Hughes

I created this website to raise awareness and start discussion on important issues like world hunger and poverty. I have two of my own kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please help me by sharing this on social media sites. And please post a comment!

No Responses so far | Have Your Say!

Comments are closed.

Children suffering from Poverty