Georgia poverty report shows slight improvements
According to a new Census Bureau report on household income and poverty, the economic situation in Georgia has improved, slightly, in recent years. However, Georgia residents remain in far worse financial situations than they were before the economic recession, due largely to the stagnation of industries such as construction and the sluggish recovery of the housing market.
From 2010 to 2011, the report states, median household income rose by 4.2 percent in Georgia. However, the 2011 median income of $45,973 was far below the peak reached in 2006, before the economic recession took hold. Similarly, 1.78 million people, or about 18 percent of the population, were below the poverty line in 2011. Although this number also fell from 2010 to 2011, it remains much higher than before the recession. In fact, Georgia’s poverty rate skyrocketed by a staggering 40 percent from 2006-07 to 2010-11.
And those numbers could be even higher. The official federal formula for measuring poverty does not take necessary expenses, such as taxes or child care, into account when determining household income. Recently, the Census Bureau began testing a new tool called the Supplemental Poverty Measure which factors many of those expenses and other variables in determining the poverty rate. The results of that tool’s calculations are expected to be released in November.
In 2011, about 19 percent of Georgia residents did not have health insurance coverage. While this number also dropped from the 2010 rate, it placed Georgia seventh on the list of states with the highest numbers of uninsured people. In fact, Georgia remains at or near the top of many of those ‘hardest-hit’ lists, and people are finding themselves in poverty for an extended period of time.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Georgians see hint of a rebound,” Craig Schneider and Misty Williams, Sept. 12, 2012
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