In 2011, 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty, and 10.4 million of these impoverished individuals were considered “working poor.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines working poor as a person who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force during the past year but earned an income that fell below the official poverty level. In 2012, 46 percent of adults aged 19-64 in the U.S. were underinsured or uninsured, and 55 million people under 65 are uninsured.
Almost five million men and 5.5 million women are classified as working poor. What does the poster child for America’s working poor look like? It would include young black and hispanic women. About 23 percent of blacks and 33 percent of hispanics are uninsured. One-third of young adults (19-29) are uninsured—the highest rate of any group. Some 63 percent of uninsured adults have a high school diploma or less, and 29.3 percent of people with a high school diploma or less are classified as working poor. Children are greatly impacted—families with children are four times more likely to live in poverty than those without children.
The minimum wage really stifles the poor. The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 (unchanged since 2008), but the Obama administration has proposed an increase to $9.00. To meet the federal poverty guideline standards of $23,550 for a family of four, a worker would need a full time job earning $11.32 an hour.
Will the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, make a difference? Beginning on January 1, 2014, Medicare will be extended to those with family incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, unless states choose not to participate. To learn more, check out the infographic below.
America’s Working Poor & Health Insurance [Infographic]From: Bankrate Insurance’s InsuranceQuotes.com
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