AEI Scholar Douglas Besharov Comments on the Census Bureau's Annual Poverty Report and Income Inequality

Media inquiries: Véronique Rodman
202.862.4870 (vrodman@aei.org)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2007

Following his special AEI briefing on tomorrow's release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage" report, AEI welfare and poverty expert Douglas J. Besharov offers the following conclusions:

On the poverty rate: Because year-to-year changes in the poverty rate are ordinarily correlated (rising or falling) with changes in the unemployment rate, Besharov predicts that the poverty rate will show a general decline in 2006 (although it may increase for some groups). Last year, unemployment fell from about 5.1 percent to about 4.6 percent, and, more specifically--and probably more significantly--the unemployment rate for single mothers fell from about 9.2 percent to about 8.5 percent.

On income inequality: In addition, Besharov expects a continued increase in income inequality, with those at the top of the income distribution doing vastly better than the rest of America. Sixty percent of families have seen income gains, but most striking has been the startling growth of incomes for the top 20 percent of Americans. While incomes for the poorest Americans have remained essentially flat since 1969, those for the wealthy have almost doubled.

Douglas Besharov is available for interviews and can be reached at 202.862.5904 or dbesharov@aei.org (assistant: 202.862.5933 or jmyers@aei.org).

For additional media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at 202.862.4870 or vrodman@aei.org.

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