36.5 million live in poverty in United States: report

WASHINGTON, Aug 28, 2007 (AFP) – Some 36.5 million people lived in poverty last year in the United States, with children and blacks the worst affected, a report by the US Census Bureau showed Tuesday.

The number of poor people out of the total US population of 302 million was equivalent to the entire state of California — paradoxically one of the richest states — one-and-a-half times the population of Malaysia or nearly everyone in the central European nation of Poland living in poverty.

But the Census Bureau stressed the positive in its report, which also looked at median income and numbers of people with health insurance, pointing out that earnings rose and the poverty rate fell from 2005 to 2006.

According to the report, around 12.8 million children under the age of 18, or around one-third of the 36.5 million poor, existed in 2006 with annual funds below the income threshold used by the Census Bureau to determine who lives in poverty.

For a single person under the age of 65, the income threshold was 10,488 dollars a year; for a single parent with one child, it was 13,896 dollars.

The number of people over the age of 65 who lived in poverty fell last year to 3.4 million from 3.6 million in 2005, while the 18-64 age group showed no change at 20.2 million in poverty.

In percentage terms, three times more black people — 24.3 percent — lived in poverty than the 8.2 percent of white people who did.

The south was the worst hit geographic area, with a poverty rate of 13.8 percent, and more than 29 million of the United States’ poor live in large cities or their suburbs.

The median household income in the United States increased by 0.7 percent from 47,845 dollars (35,097 euros) to 48,201 dollars (35,359 euros) last year from 2005, the report said.

But the increase for black households was only 0.3 percent, while white households enjoyed an increase of 1.1 percent and Asians of 1.8 percent.

Women tend to earn 77 percent of the salary of men in an equivalent job, the report said.

It also showed that 47 million people had no health insurance in the United States last year, an increase from the 44.8 million who had no coverage in 2005.

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