The Census Bureau did a big data dump this morning, releasing its findings on poverty, income and health insurance coverage from 2008. The results aren't pretty, but there is some good news: The number of uninsured children has fallen from 8.1 million in 2007 to 7.3 million in 2008. Despite the recession, the number of uninsured children in the U.S. is the lowest it's been since 1987, a success largely attributable to the federal SCHIP program (whose expansion was twice vetoed by President Bush and heavily opposed by Republicans in Congress). But the rest of the report is truly dismal. The highlights:
The number of people without health insurance jumped from 45.7 million to 46.3 million. The number of people who get insurance from employers is still falling, while 87.4 million people got health insurance from the government, up from 83 million in 2007.
The official poverty rate jumped from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 13.2 last year, leaving nearly 40 million people in dire straits. That's the highest it's been since 1997. In a telling sign about the recession, the poverty rate among married-couple families is up significantly, jumping from 4.9 percent to 5.5 percent in 2008, while single parents remained steadily poor. And 19 percent of kids under 18 were living below the poverty line in 2008, up a full point from the previous year.
Finally, real median income tanked, falling 2.6 percent for white households and a whopping 5.6 percent for Hispanic families. People in the South took an especially bad beating, with median incomes there falling nearly 5 percent. No wonder those Southern Republicans are so pissed off.