The U.S. Census Bureau released a report on Thursday that showed 44 million Americans live in poverty, the highest level since the first year figures became available in 1959. The percentage among Hispanics also rose from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent in 2009, a total of 12.4 million people.
The figures are part of a report entitled “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States” based on information from the “2010 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.”
The number of Americans living below the poverty level, which is about $22,000 for a family of four, is about 1 in 7. For Hispanics that number is every 1 in 4, but that number could actually be larger says Georgetown University demographic expert Harry Holzer.
“We musn’t forget that the number of Hispanic homes has fallen after the (economic) crisis such that there is an important group that remains uncounted in terms of income by household,” Holzer said.
The breakdown of the number of Hispanics living in poverty shows that an alarming number of children, a third to be exact, lives below the poverty line. About 22 percent of the adult Hispanic population and 18 percent of elderly Hispanics also live in poverty.
The report has spurred dozens of experts and Latino groups to note the importance of approving several bills that remain stalled in Congress to improve things, including the local employment creation bill sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), which, Holzer says, would create 1 million jobs.
Measures like expanding the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as the creation of green jobs could alleviate the situation said the National Council of La Raza, reiterating past positions.
Despite the rise in poverty, another figure in the report showed that Hispanic households increased their average income in 2009 by 0.7 percent to $38,039 a year.