September 13, 2011

Census estimates show increase in U.S. poverty but not in Washington state

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today show that the poverty rate for the U.S. increased from 14.3 percent to 15.1 percent from 2009 to 2010. However, the rate in Washington State remained essentially unchanged at 11.5 percent, or 774,000 residents. In 2009, the Washington rate was 11.7 percent or 781,000 residents.

Researchers at the West Coast Poverty Center at the University of Washington note that Washingtons poverty rate remains well above pre-recession levels. According to the census, the states poverty rate in 2006 was 8 percent, or 502,000 residents.

The poverty line varies by family size. In 2010, a family of two adults and two children was considered poor if its annual income fell below $22,113.

The Census Bureau will release more accurate state-level data on Sept. 20.

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For additional information, contact Marieka Klawitter, an associate professor at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs: 206-616-1673 or marieka@uw.edu.