Dismal data: Census Bureau, state budget forecast means state needs to take action to protect families

September 17, 2010 | Marilyn Watkins

With new data on poverty and median income just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, along with a new state budget forecast, let’s take a look at the numbers and sketch out some of the policy choices Washington now faces in response.

Poverty

Washington’s poverty rate climbed to 11.7% in 2009 — up from 10.4% in 2008 — according to the just-released Census Bureau data. Today, 781,000 Washingtonians live below the federal poverty rate ($18,310 for a family of three).

The good news/bad news is that at least Washington is doing better than the nation as a whole. The U.S.  poverty rate now stands at 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008. A record 43.6 million people are now living in poverty in the U.S. — the highest poverty rate since 1994, and the largest number of people living in poverty in the nation since this statistic has been tracked.

Poverty Rates, U.S. and Washington State, 1980-2009

 

Poverty Rates, U.S. and Washington State, 1980-2009

 

Income

Typical household incomes also show the effects of recession, and it’s good news/bad news again: Washington is less worse off than the rest of the country. Median household incomes have fallen for two years running in inflation-adjusted terms in both Washington and the U.S.

Washington’s median annual income stood at $58,404 in 2008-09, a drop of $745 since 2006-2007. (The Census Bureau uses two-year averages for larger sample sizes.) The nation’s real median household income also fell, to $49,777.

Median Household Income, U.S. and Washington State, 1984-2009
(2009 dollars, 2-year averages)

Median Household Income, U.S. and Washington State, 1984-2009

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

State Budget

Unfortunately, there’s no good news in the state revenue forecast just released by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. Despite making $5.2 billion in cuts over the past 2 years, it looks like the state will have to cut – or raise – more than $500 million more from the current state budget, which runs through June 2011. Governor Gregoire has already ordered additional across-the-board spending cuts of 4 to 7 percent, and the legislature will have to make some tough choices in the upcoming session to balance the 2011-2013 budget .

Policy Response

Now is not the time to slash the safety net of social services for the growing ranks of poor and economically vulnerable. Further cuts in government spending will only deepen the recession.

A number of initiatives on the ballot this November will give every citizen the chance to help set a better course to move us toward a more sustainable economic future. As a state will we have the funds to invest in the high priority services and facilities that provide opportunity and a pathway to prosperity? Or will we further undermine the foundational infrastructure of educational , health, and transportation systems on which our economy is built?

Over the next several months, EOI will continue to collect and analyze additional data on the current economic situation—jobs, unemployment, housing, education and benefits—in Washington and at the national level, and translate it into constructive public policy dialogue.

By The Numbers

 

 

 

Percentage of People in Poverty, Washington State:

3-year average (2007-2009): 10.7%
2-year average (2008-2009): 11.0%

2008 number of people in poverty: 680,000 (10.4%)
2009 number of people in poverty: 781,000 (11.7%)

Percentage of People in Poverty, United States:

3-year average (2007-2009): 13.4%
2-year average (2008-2009): 13.8%

Median Income, Washington State:

2-year average (2008-2009): $58,404
2-year average (2006-2007): $59,149

Median Income, United States:

2009: $49,777

Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2010, Annual Social and Economic Supplement

The News is Dismal, The Time is Now

The Census Bureau announced Thursday that Washington’s poverty rate climbed to 11.7% in 2009, up from 10.4% in 2008. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032010/pov/new46_100125_01.htm The data show that 781,000 people in our state are living below the federal poverty rate ($18,310 for a family of 3). http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/statemedfaminc.html

At least Washington is doing better than the nation as a whole. The U.S.  poverty rate now stands at 14.3 percent, up from a 2008 rate of 13.2 percent. A record 43.6 million people are living in poverty in the U.S.  This is the highest poverty rate since 1994 and the largest number of people living in poverty in the nation since this statistic has been tracked. http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf

Poverty Rates, U.S. and Washington State, 1980-2009

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Typical household incomes also reflect the on-going effects of recession, and here again, Washington has less-bad news than the rest of the country. Median household incomes have fallen for two years running in inflation-adjusted terms in both Washington and the U.S. Washington’s 2009 median annual income stood at $58,404 in 2008-09, a drop of $745 since the 2006-2007 (the Census Bureau uses two-year averages for larger sample sizes). The nation’s real median household income also fell to $49,777.

Median Household Income, U.S. and Washington State, 1984-2009

(In 2009 dollars, 2-year averages)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The bad news yesterday continued with release of the state revenue forecast by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. http://www.erfc.wa.gov/forecast/documents/rev20100916color.pdf After already cutting $5.2 billion over the past 2 years, it looks like we’ll have to cut – or raise – more than $500 million more from the 2009-11 state budget that runs through June 2011. Governor Gregoire has already ordered additional across-the-board spending cuts, of 4 to 7 percent, and the legislature will have to make some tough choices in the upcoming session to balance the budget.

Now is not the time to slash the safety net of social services for the growing ranks of poor and economically vulnerable. Further cuts in government spending will only deepen the recession.

A number of initiatives on the ballot this November will give every citizen the chance to help set a better course to move us toward a more sustainable economic future. As a state will we have the funds to invest in the high priority services and facilities that provide opportunity and a pathway to prosperity? Or will we further undermine the foundational infrastructure of educational , health, and transportation systems on which our economy is built?

Over the next several months, EOI will continue to collect and analyze additional data on the current economic situation—jobs, unemployment, housing, education and benefits—in Washington and at the national level, and translate it into constructive public policy dialogue.

The Census Bureau released data on poverty and median income today in their annual Current Population Survey (CPS), with additional analysis and more detailed reporting to come with the release of the American Community Survey (ACS) later this month.

Percentage

The News is Dismal, The Time is Now

The Census Bureau announced Thursday that Washington’s poverty rate climbed to 11.7% in 2009, up from 10.4% in 2008. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032010/pov/new46_100125_01.htm The data show that 781,000 people in our state are living below the federal poverty rate ($18,310 for a family of 3). http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/statemedfaminc.html

At least Washington is doing better than the nation as a whole. The U.S.  poverty rate now stands at 14.3 percent, up from a 2008 rate of 13.2 percent. A record 43.6 million people are living in poverty in the U.S.  This is the highest poverty rate since 1994 and the largest number of people living in poverty in the nation since this statistic has been tracked. http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p60-238.pdf

Poverty Rates, U.S. and Washington State, 1980-2009

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Typical household incomes also reflect the on-going effects of recession, and here again, Washington has less-bad news than the rest of the country. Median household incomes have fallen for two years running in inflation-adjusted terms in both Washington and the U.S. Washington’s 2009 median annual income stood at $58,404 in 2008-09, a drop of $745 since the 2006-2007 (the Census Bureau uses two-year averages for larger sample sizes). The nation’s real median household income also fell to $49,777.

Median Household Income, U.S. and Washington State, 1984-2009

(In 2009 dollars, 2-year averages)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The bad news yesterday continued with release of the state revenue forecast by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. http://www.erfc.wa.gov/forecast/documents/rev20100916color.pdf After already cutting $5.2 billion over the past 2 years, it looks like we’ll have to cut – or raise – more than $500 million more from the 2009-11 state budget that runs through June 2011. Governor Gregoire has already ordered additional across-the-board spending cuts, of 4 to 7 percent, and the legislature will have to make some tough choices in the upcoming session to balance the budget.

Now is not the time to slash the safety net of social services for the growing ranks of poor and economically vulnerable. Further cuts in government spending will only deepen the recession.

A number of initiatives on the ballot this November will give every citizen the chance to help set a better course to move us toward a more sustainable economic future. As a state will we have the funds to invest in the high priority services and facilities that provide opportunity and a pathway to prosperity? Or will we further undermine the foundational infrastructure of educational , health, and transportation systems on which our economy is built?

Over the next several months, EOI will continue to collect and analyze additional data on the current economic situation—jobs, unemployment, housing, education and benefits—in Washington and at the national level, and translate it into constructive public policy dialogue.

The Census Bureau released data on poverty and median income today in their annual Current Population Survey (CPS), with additional analysis and more detailed reporting to come with the release of the American Community Survey (ACS) later this month.

 

 

 

Percentage of People in Poverty (Using 2- and 3-Year Averages:  2006-2007 and 2008-2009)

Washington State:

3-year average (2007-2009) was 10.7%

2-year average (2008-2009) was 11.0%

2008 # of people in poverty, 680,000 (10.4%, # at twice the poverty rate was 26.8%)

2009 # of people in poverty, 781,000 (11.7%)

U.S.:

3-year average (2007-2009) was 13.4%

2-year average (2008-2009) was 13.8%

 

Median Income

Washington State:

Washington state median income fell by $745 over the two-year period, 2008-2009, to $58,404. This is down from the 2006-2007 two-year average of $59,149.

U.S. real median household income in the United States in 2009 was $49,777.

(Source:  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2010, Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC)).

of People in Poverty (Using 2- and 3-Year Averages:  2006-2007 and 2008-2009)

Washington State:

3-year average (2007-2009) was 10.7%

2-year average (2008-2009) was 11.0%

2008 # of people in poverty, 680,000 (10.4%, # at twice the poverty rate was 26.8%)

2009 # of people in poverty, 781,000 (11.7%)

U.S.:

3-year average (2007-2009) was 13.4%

2-year average (2008-2009) was 13.8%

Median Income

Washington State:

Washington state median income fell by $745 over the two-year period, 2008-2009, to $58,404. This is down from the 2006-2007 two-year average of $59,149.

U.S. real median household income in the United States in 2009 was $49,777.

(Source:  Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009, U.S. Census Bureau. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), 2010, Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC)).

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Posted in State Economy, Tax and Budget

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