REPORT ON POVERTY IN AMERICA AND ITS IMPACT ON THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
On September 12, 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report on poverty and earnings in America, emphasizing the major issues facing many Americans. The data showed that 39.7 million Americans lived in poverty in 2017, comprising 12.3% of all Americans, down 0.4% from 12.7% in 2016. The report also showed that the U.S. poverty rate has decreased since 2010, when it hit a high of 15.1%, and has now returned to the rate from before the Great Recession. The median household income in 2017 was $61,372, a 1.8% increase from the median income in 2016 ($60,309).
The report also showed the number of Americans with disabilities between the ages of 18-64 living in poverty. In 2017, 3.8 million people or 24.9% of those with disabilities lived in poverty, a slight decrease from from 4.1 million people or 26.8% in 2016. This comes in strong contrast to the 10.1% of individuals between the ages of 18-64 without disabilities living in poverty in 2017. This emphasizes the major barriers to employment for many individuals with disabilities face, as well as some people who are not able to work due to the nature of their disabilities.
Poverty rates also vary by age. In 2017, 17.5% of children lived below the poverty line. The rate for those 65 and over has also fluctuated over time. Amongst individuals 65 and older, poverty fell from the 1960s to the 1990s, primarily because of the expansion of Social Security benefits during this time period. Between 2016 and 2017, the poverty rate for those 65 and older, as well as for those 17 and younger, did not statistically change.