The nation’s poverty picture in 2011 was “not statistically different” from 2010, according to estimates released by the Census Bureau this morning. The poverty rate was 15 percent last year, and 15.1 percent in 2010. As we reported yesterday, some poverty experts had predicted the rate would climb to as much as 15.4 percent, which would have been the highest since 1965.
Poverty, however, remains at one of its highest levels since 1965. It was 17.3 percent that year, but declined to 14.7 in 1966, and it’s been 15 percent or more in only five years since: 1982, 1983, 1993, and the last two years. The rate was 11.3 percent in 2000, and has risen steadily the last 11 years.
The nonpartisan Center for American Progress points out that poverty has trended upward since 2000 in both good times and bad—that is, even when the economy has been recovering during that period, the benefits haven’t trickled down to low-income families as they had historically.