Spotlight Exclusives

Poverty Data to Be Released Two Weeks Later, Avoiding the Summer Doldrums!

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Hold the presses! Here۪s some breaking OOTS news

It۪s now semi-official that the Census Bureau will release the 2008 poverty and income data in mid-September 2009, rather than late-August, and will split the release into two separate events.

In recent years, Census has released the previous year۪s poverty data for both the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS) in the last week of August, with the result of “burying” the news during an exceedingly quiet period for getting national press and media coverage. This year, however, the poverty and income data will be released in two separate events: the data from the CPS will be made public on Thursday, September 10th, with the numbers from ACS following about two weeks later. The CPS numbers are likely to get more attention from the major press outlets since they۪re first and national, but the ACS numbers two weeks later will also be big news since they will drill down to both state and sub-state levels.

The poverty rate will surely go up, perhaps significantly. Becky Blank has a rough rule of thumb that a one percentage point increase in unemployment translates to the poverty rate going up by almost half a percentage point. Since the national unemployment rate had jumped 2.2 percentage points from December 2007 (when it was 5.0 percent) to December 2008 (7.2 percent), we could see the poverty rate for 2008 increase by more than a full percentage pointfrom 12.5 percent in 2007 to a possible 13.5 percent or more for 2008. That۪s about a 3 million increase in the number of poor people in one year. OOTS says “Ouch!”

BTW, with unemployment currently at 9.4 percent (May 2009), our current poverty rate which we won۪t know until this time next year may approach 15 percent.

You heard it here first!

Posted by Mike


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