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Poverty rate reaches historic highs

By CU-CitizenAccess '” Last year was a painful one for about one in seven families as the annual poverty rate rose for a third year in a row. The 2009 poverty rate was14.3 percent for the U.S. , according to a new report released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number of people in poverty now is the highest number in 51 years, according to a release issued Thursday.

The report looked at 2009 income, poverty and health insurance data for the nation. Local data will be released September 28.

Overall, about 1.5 million people lost health insurance in 2009. The percentage of people covered by either private or employment-based health insurance is the lowest it's been since 1987, when data were first collected. Conversely, the percentage of those with government health insurance programs is at its highest in 23 years.

For an analysis of this data and Midwest trends, check out this report by the Social Impact Research Center.

Since 2000, Champaign County has seen some changes as well, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

'¢ In 2000 the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent;

'¢ As of July 2010, the unemployment rate is 9.8 percent;

'¢ In 2000, about 16 percent of county households were living below the poverty line;

'¢ In 2008, the latest year for which data is available, 20 percent of county households were living below the poverty line, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau;

'¢ In 2000, median household income was about $37,780;

'¢ In 2008, median household income was about $43,985;

'¢ In 2000, 8 percent of county residents were living in extreme poverty '“ those with an income 50 percent or less of the poverty line;

'¢ In 2008, 12 percent of county residents were living in extreme poverty.

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