June 4th, 2011

United States Census Bureau: Over 1 in 4 Black and Latino Americans Living in Poverty

The United States Census Bureau calculates national poverty levels by using a threshold income value set according to family size and composition. In 2010, a family of five earning a combined annual income below $26,675 qualified as "impoverished." On June 4, 2011, the United States Census Bureau released data collected in the 2010 census which showed 46.2 million Americans living in poverty - the largest number recorded since poverty estimates were first collected in 1959. The 2010 poverty rate of 15.1% was the highest recorded in America since 1993.

The census data further revealed that poverty rates differed greatly by ethnic group, with 27.47% of African Americans and 26.6% of Latino Americans living in poverty compared to 9.9% of whites and 12.1% of Asian Americans. Other indicia of economic and social well-being also demonstrated racial differences. For example, census figures showed that 18.1% of Asian Americans, 20.5% of African Americans, and 30.7% of Latino Americans lacked health insurance in 2010 compared to 11.7% of whites and 16.3% of the nation overall.