New Census Report Proves High Poverty & Hunger Direct Result of Decline of Middle Class

09.10.2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 

CONTACT:

Nicole Aber, (914) 263-0013

Naber@hungerfreeamerica.org       

Census Bureau: Average Income of Families Flat

Number of Americans in Poverty Dips but Still Higher Than 2007 and 66 Percent Higher Than in 1973  

93 Million Americans – Nearly a Third – Live in or Near Poverty

Advocates: “Decline of Middle Class Chief Reason for High Poverty, Hunger” 

 

The U.S. Census annual report on income and poverty released today found that: “Median household income was $63,179 in 2018, not statistically different from the 2017 median.”

It also found that 38.1 million Americans lived below the meager federal poverty line of $20,780 for a family of three, a slight dip from 2017. However, the number of Americans living in poverty was still higher than in 2007, before the recession, and 66 percent higher than in 1973, when — due to both broad-based economic growth and the War on Poverty — poverty reached its lowest level in modern times.

Fully 93 million Americans, nearly one-third of the nation’s population, lived in or near poverty — 200 percent of the poverty threshold or lower — in 2018.

In contrast, the wealthiest 400 Americans had a combined net worth of $2.9 trillion in 2018, according to Forbes. That $2.9 trillion figure is the equivalent of $76,115 for each of the 38.1 million Americans in poverty.

In response, Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide advocacy and direct service organization, said, “Given that the average U.S. household income was flat — and many middle-class families can’t afford housing, health care, child care, and other basic living expenses — it’s clear that the nation is suffering from an income versus expenses gap that is fueling our mass poverty and hunger, which are higher, per capita, than in any other industrialized Western nation. This new data provides the latest proof that the decline of the middle class is the top reason so many Americans suffer from poverty and hunger. That’s why the nation has lost so much ground since the 1970s, the last time we had truly abundant living wage jobs and an adequate government safety net. This new report should be a wake-up call that, in order to reverse these dreadful trends, America needs a massive overhaul of our economic and social policies.”

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