Report on poverty

BRIAN WATT: Another take on the economy comes out today. The Census Bureau releases its annual report on wages, poverty and health insurance. Helen Palmer tells us what to expect.


HELEN PALMER: The economy has grown for the last four years. And so have poverty rates, says Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University. He analyzed Census Bureau data for the last four years.
STEVEN WOOLF: Well, severe poverty grew by 20 percent between 2000 and 2004, which amounts to about 3.6 million Americans.

Severely poor households earn $11,000 a year or less for a family of four. Woolf says a third of the very poor are children, who tend to be sicker and do worse at school than their peers.

WOOLF: The poverty rate itself grew between 2000 and 2004 from 11.3 percent to 12.7 percent.

Many economists say they they think the Census Bureau will announce little change in poverty and wage trends today. But they point out that only the wealthiest 10 percent are earning more in real terms. Income for the median American household was $1,700 less in 2005 than in 2000.

In Boston, I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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