Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Reviews New Census Data on Poverty, Income, and Health Care
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Reviews New Census Data on Poverty, Income, and Health Care

Press Contacts

  • Liz Bartolomeo

Washington, D.C. — New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today show a significant decrease in the share of Americans with incomes below the poverty line between 2014 and 2015. The Census Bureau reported that the nation’s official poverty rate declined to 13.5 percent in 2015, and that the median household income increased to $56,516. Additionally, the Census Bureau found that a record 90.9 percent of Americans had health insurance for all or part of 2015.

The Center for American Progress provides a collection of new resources for the media, academics, and policy professionals that also digs into the figures released today.

CAP Senior Fellow David Madland and Research Assistant Alex Rowell examine what the latest Census data say about the American middle class. Today’s figures indicate that middle-class families are finally seeing income growth, but that this broadly shared growth will need to continue in order to make up for years of growing inequality.

CAP Senior Fellow Shawn Fremstad discusses on TalkPoverty why policymakers need to update the nation’s outdated federal poverty line, currently at $12,000 per year for a single person living alone and $24,000 for a couple with two childre. Fremstad proposes a new dual measurement to define the official poverty level.

Also on TalkPoverty, CAP Director of Family Policy Katherine Gallagher Robbins and Poverty to Prosperity Program Associate Director Rachel West offer a primer on what stands out in the census data—and what these data demonstrate about the effectiveness of policies to reduce poverty. They also address ways the data should be expanded to include poverty measurements for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, or LGBTQ, people.

Related resources:

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at lbartolomeo@americanprogress.org or 202.481.8151.