September 12, 2012

Americans’ Views about Poverty and Economic Well-Being

The Census Bureau reported today that the nation’s poverty rate was unchanged at 15.0% in 2011 and that 46.2 million people lived in poverty, also not statistically different from 2010, a pattern change after three consecutive years of increase in both numbers. How do Americans describe their own economic circumstances, and how much priority do they give to helping the needy? A number of recent Pew Research Center reports are relevant to the national debate about poverty and economic well-being.

In addition to releasing the 2011 poverty rate, the Census Bureau also published new data today on household income ($50,054, a 1.5% decline in real terms from 2010) and the share of Americans without health insurance (15.7%, a decline from 16.3% who were uninsured in 2010). Pew Research Center reports over the past year have explored—among other topics—Americans’ attitudes about their own financial circumstances and their financial futures, as well as their views about the presidential candidates’ policies on poverty. Among them: