It’s by now common knowledge that economic inequality in the US has grown at breakneck speed since the 1960s. But the extent of the hardship many Americans face is pretty harrowing. Below is a round-up of stats that reveal the urgency of the problem.
- Nearly 1 in 2 Americans (48%) is living in poverty or considered low-income.
- The portion of working-age Americans who are living at or below the poverty level is 56.7%–the highest it’s been since the 1960s.
- 1 in 5 U.S. children are living in poverty, defined as $22,350/year for a family of four.
- The average unemployed worker will spend over 40 weeks looking for another job.
- Nearly 1 in 5 working Americans consider themselves underemployed.
- 1 in 3 Americans does not have enough savings to cover one month of housing costs if they lose their jobs.
When it comes to poverty, race and gender matter–by a lot.
- In 2010, the poverty rates among blacks and Hispanics was nearly twice the rate among whites (15% vs. 27%–remember, this is defined as $22,350/year for a family of four and does not households considered to be “low-income.” The rate for Asians was 12%.)
- Single mothers are the most likely of all groups to be poor. In 2010, 31.6% of female-headed households were in poverty
See our page on growing income gaps for a comparison on how the 1% have faired.