News / Economy

    Nearly 1 in 7 Americans is Impoverished

    Report by U.S. Census Bureau
    Report by U.S. Census Bureau
    Barbie Izquierdo is a single mom.  She has lived her whole life at or near the poverty level, and her children - ages 4 and 6 - have suffered.

    “It was hard trying to put them to bed or force them to go to bed without eating as much as they wanted to just because I was trying to save up for the next day, and many times it meant going to bed with nothing to eat myself, just so they could have something to eat.”

    The U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday released a comprehensive report on poverty and income in the U.S. It shows  Izquierdo's family is among the 46.5 million people who last year were living at or below the poverty line - that's $23,550 for a family of four. Those new census figures released for 2012 show no significant changes from the year before.  Census researchers say the U.S. is still trying to recover from 2007, the year before the recession.  

    Changing Government

    Michael Tanner is with the conservative CATO Institute.  He says it points to an inept government.

    “We are spending close to $1 trillion every year at the fed and state level on anti-poverty programs and yet we’ve had minimal effectiveness at reducing poverty.  It would suggest that we aren’t being as good as we can, and maybe we should look at different solutions.”

    Income Figures

    Census figures show the median household income in the United States last year was just over $51,000.  David Johnson is the chief of the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division.

    “Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, median household income has declined 8.3 percent and was 9 percent below its all-time high achieved in 1999.”

    Breakdown by Ethnicity

    Johnson says Asian households have the highest income among ethnic groups at 68,000. Hispanics and blacks make about half that much. Johnson says those figures aren’t much different from last year's and show the country hasn’t recovered from pre-recession levels.  

    Food Stamps Threatened

    Izquierdo says what pulled her out of her worst poverty were food stamps, now called the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance) Program. Congress is considering cutting $40 billion over 10 years from SNAP, to cut excess and abuse through stricter eligibility requirements.

    Bob Aiken is president and chief executive officer of Feeding America, a domestic hunger relief organization.  

    "That means 1.5 billion meals will be lost each year for hungry families for the next 10 years."

    But Cato’s Tanner says Washington says the program can't keep growing.

    “We’ve gone from 17 million people receiving food in 2000 - to just over a decade later - we have 48 million people on food stamps.  Yet, the evidence is not there that we are doing a particularly good job of reducing hunger or increasing nutritional value.”

    Izquierdo says that for the richest country in the world.....assistance should start at on its own shores.

    “If we want to set a good example as a strong country, we need to make sure that our foundation is strong.  And our foundation can’t be strong if our children aren’t getting enough to eat, because those are our next leaders."

    Carolyn Presutti

    Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9079
    JPY
    USD
    106.10
    GBP
    USD
    0.7636
    CAD
    USD
    1.3106
    INR
    USD
    67.076

    Rates may not be current.