UW News

September 8, 2009

UW experts available to discuss U.S. Census Bureau poverty report

WHAT: “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008” will be released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

WHO: Several University of Washington professors with the UW West Coast Poverty Center are available to discuss the report:

Robert D. Plotnick
Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs
206-685-2055 (o)
206-930-5111 (cell)

Marcia Meyers
Associate professor, School of Social Work and Evans School of Public Affairs
206-616-4409 (o)

Jennifer Romich
Assistant professor, School of Social Work

Diana Pearce
Senior lecturer and Director, Center for Women’s Welfare, School of Social Work

WHEN: Find the report online Thursday, 7 a.m., at www.census.gov . Click on the “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance” icon at the top left corner of the home page.

Note: Local data for income, poverty and health insurance coverage will be available Sept. 22, when the Census Bureau releases new housing, demographic and socioeconomic data.

DETAILS: The UW researchers say the poverty rate in the U.S. for 2008 could have been 13 percent, and may have been as high as 15 percent. Between 1980 and 1982, when the country experienced a recession similar to the recent one, the national poverty rate rose from 13 percent to 15 percent.

Because Washington entered the recession later than the rest of the country, its poverty rate will likely be lower but still significant, say Plotnick and Romich. A single percentage point increase means an additional 63,000 Washington residents in poverty, including 19,500 children. Under federal poverty guidelines, a family of four earning less than $21,834 in 2008 was considered poor.

Official poverty figures for 2009 are not yet available, but from January to July national unemployment continued to rise, reaching 9.7 percent in August.


For more information, contact Rachel Lodge, program director at the West Coast Poverty Center, 206-616-2858 (o) or 206-293-1960 (cell) or rlodge@u.washington.edu.