Saturday, September 17, 2016

MassBudget: Reports Explore Lessons of New Census Data


New Reports Explore Lessons of Newly Released Census Data
With the release this week of new Census Bureau data from the American Community Survey (ACS), it is clear that working families nationwide and here in Massachusetts made some important gains from 2014 to 2015 -- and that opportunities exist to build on these gains. MassBudget's new factsheet, U.S. and MA Households Make Meaningful Gains in 2015, explores what can be learned from this new data.

While the overall U.S. poverty rate declined meaningfully, there was no clear drop in the Massachusetts poverty rate. Median incomes saw strong growth in 2015 in the U.S. as a whole and somewhat more modest growth here in Massachusetts.

Poverty rates in Massachusetts and the U.S. as a whole remain well above pre-recession levels (2007), and median incomes remain below pre-recession peaks, underscoring the importance of policy improvements that can boost wages and incomes and make sure everyone -- including working families -- shares in the benefits of a growing economy.

In 2015 close to 1 in every 9 people in Massachusetts lived below the federal poverty threshold (which is roughly $24,000/year for a family of four). Only 12 other states had lower overall poverty rates in 2015. In the U.S., close to 1 in every 7 people lived below the poverty threshold in 2015.

Poverty remains more widespread for children than for adults in Massachusetts and in the U.S. -- and higher than pre-recession levels. The childhood poverty rate in Massachusetts remained virtually unchanged in 2015, with 1 in 7 children in poverty. MassBudget today has also released a factsheet on the new ACS kids' data, One in Seven Children in Massachusetts Still in Poverty; Almost All Have Health Insurance.

Today's Census data also tells an encouraging story about the effectiveness of federal and state safety net policies that help individuals and families pay for basic necessities. An official Supplemental Poverty Measure shows that programs such as Social Security, SNAP (food stamps), housing subsidies, and the Child Tax Credit move 38 million people above the poverty line. Together, these programs cut the poverty rate nearly in half.

Read MassBudget's new factsheet on income and poverty data from the Census ACS survey here (LINK).

Read MassBudget's new factsheet on child poverty and health insurance coverage, using this week's Census data here (LINK).

For more on this data and related data on wages, jobs and education, see the 2016 State of Working Massachusetts (LINK)

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

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