Sunday, August 31, 2008

1.3 Million Georgians are Poor, Over 1.6 Million Lack Health Insurance, Census Bureau Reports

Georgians were more likely to be poor or to lack health coverage last year than when the last recession bottomed out in 2001, according to Census Bureau data released 8/26/08 . In addition, the income of the typical Georgia household was the same in 2007 as in 2001, after adjusting for inflation.

"Even after six years of economic recovery, Georgians have not regained the ground lost in the 2001 recession," said Sarah Beth Gehl, Deputy Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. "With the weakening of the economy in 2008, things are likely to get worse before they get better."

Georgia's poverty rate was 14.3 percent in 2007, which was not a statistically significant difference from 2006. However, Georgia's 2007 poverty rate ranked 13th highest among states and remained well above the 2001 level of 11.7 percent. The child poverty rate in Georgia was 19.4 percent in 2007 - totaling over 480,000 Georgia children in poverty. (Note, in 2007, a family of four with two children was in poverty if their income was below $21,027.)

For income, Georgia was average, ranking 24th in median household income in 2007. After adjusting for inflation, median income for households increased from just over $48,000 in 2006 to $49,136 in 2007, but remained statistically unchanged from the 2001 level.

Based on two-year averages, the percentage of Georgians without health insurance remained unchanged from 2004-2005 to 2006-2007, but remained higher than in 2000-2001. Over 1.6 million Georgians, 17.6 percent of the population, were uninsured in 2006-2007, giving Georgia the 10th highest share of uninsured among the states. In 2000-2001, 15.0 percent of Georgians were uninsured.

"These figures illustrate that many Georgia families are struggling to make ends meet. Yet, our policymakers are proposing cuts to critical services like health care, education, and services for vulnerable populations that will only make it harder for them," said Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

"If the economic downturn continues, as expected, Georgia's policymakers are likely to face tough decisions about how to balance the state's budget. They should avoid taking steps that would make it even harder for struggling families to get by," Essig concluded.

In previous reports, GBPI has outlined steps Georgia's policymakers can take to improve economic opportunity for those struggling to make ends meet, such as adopting a state earned income tax credit (EITC), investing in adult education and child care assistance, raising the minimum wage, and expanding health insurance for working families.
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

No comments: