Magazine article Policy & Practice

More Americans Said Living in Poverty, without Health Insurance

Magazine article Policy & Practice

More Americans Said Living in Poverty, without Health Insurance

Article excerpt

The number of Americans living in poverty rose by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured grew by 1.4 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

About 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the Aug. 26 report. That was up from 34.5 million, or 12.1 percent in 2002.

Children made up more than half the increase--about 800,000. The child poverty rate rose from 16.7 percent in 2002 to 17.6 percent.

The government definition of poverty varies by the size of the household. For instance, the income threshold for a family of four was $18,810, while for two people it was $12,015.

More people lacked health insurance as well--about 45 million last year, or 15.6 percent. This compares with 43.5 million, or 15.2 percent the previous year, according to the new study.

The rate of uninsured children was relatively stable at 11.4 percent, probably the result of recent expansions of coverage in government programs covering the poor and children, such as the State Children's Health Insurance Program, according to analysts. …

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