Children & Families
For the second year in a row, the national median household income increased in the United States last year, according to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
But there was no significant change in the nation's poverty rate--13.7 percent--or the number of people living in poverty, which totaled 36.6 million in 1996, according to a separate report by the bureau.
And there was no major difference in the poverty rate for children between the two years.
More than 20 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in that time period, the bureau says.
State poverty rates ranged from a low of 6.5 percent in New Hampshire to a high of 24 percent in New Mexico.
Between 1995 and 1996, the national median household income rose from $35,082 to $35,492.
The increase was significant for nine states: Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
For households located within cities, 1996 was the first year incomes increased since 1988.
And in 1996, for the second straight year, median incomes increased for households in metropolitan areas.
Before 1995, the income of these households had not increased since 1989.
Last year was also the third consecutive year that families experienced an increase in median income and the second year for nonfamily households.
In a third report, which focuses on health-insurance coverage, the Census Bureau reports that the number of uninsured children under age 18 grew by 14.8 percent, to 10.6 million, in 1996, significantly more than the 9.8 million figure of 1995.
More than 15 percent of the total U.S. population, and about 30 percent of the nation's poor people, had no health insurance of any kind last year.
The report found that Hispanics were the most likely of any racial or ethnic group to be without coverage.
The percentage of people covered by health insurance increased in Alabama and Michigan, while coverage fell in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
For other states, there was no change or the change was so minute it wasn't considered significant.
The three reports, "Money Income in the United States: 1996," "Poverty in the United States: 1996," and "Health Insurance Coverage: 1996" are available on the Internet at www.census.gov.
--LINDA JACOBSON [email protected]