Poverty in the U.S. in 2011 wasn't worse than it was in 2010, but it wasn't better, either.
That's according to the latest numbers released by the Census Bureau, which were expected to show that more Americans live in poverty now than did in the 1960s.
The report could be summed up thus:
– Median household income went down.
– The poverty rate in 2011 didn't really change from the previous year.
– The percentage of folks without health insurance went down.
In 2011, the median household income nationwide was just over $50,000, marking the second consecutive year it's dropped. In South Los Angeles, on the other hand, there are neighborhoods like Vermont Knolls (with a median household income of $27,730), Florence ($29,447) and South Park ($29,518).
Also in 2011, 15 percent of (or more than 46 million) Americans lived in poverty, which the government defined that year as an annual income of a little more than $22,000 for a family of four. That was the first time in four years the poverty rate didn't go up.
Compare that to South L.A., where about 41 percent of households make less than $20,000 annually.
While a diminished median income and stagnant poverty rate don't inspire much hope, the Census Bureau's news on health coverage may: More than a million people gained health coverage between 2010 and 2011.
That number's expected to rise in 2014, too, when the Medicaid expansion takes effect. As of late, South L.A. community clinics have been grappling with a troubling trend that involves a lot of doctors and health providers leaving – for better offers, for more time with their families.
Another notable finding of the Census Bureau: Latinos were the only ethnic group to experience a statistically significant decline in poverty rate between 2010 and 2011 – from 26.5 percent to 25.3 percent, respectively.
You can read the full report here.