The Census Bureau today released an annual report titled Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012. The data in that report, when combined with unemployment data, provides a picture of the American economy over the last 22 years. This report is issued yearly by the Census Bureau and includes data on income and poverty broken down by sex, age, race and family status. It also includes data on the prevalence of health insurance coverage in the United States.
In 2012, 46.5 million people were living below the poverty level in the United States. The poverty rate was 15 percent, unchanged from the prior year. The actual number of people in poverty increased by 249,000. The poverty rate has not fallen below 15 percent for the last three years and was last this high in 1993.
The unemployment rate in the United States averaged 8.1 percent in 2012. The rate is down from its high in 2010 of 9.6 percent but is still above all yearly unemployment rates from 1991 through 2008. Prior to 2009, the last time the unemployment rate was above 7 percent for the year was 1986.
The year 2000 saw the lowest poverty and unemployment rates in the last 22 years. The second terms of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw near-record unemployment rates. Poverty rates also declined during those terms, though not with the same trend. There remained a core of poverty in the United States of 11 to 12 percent of the population.