Media Contact:

Emily Pickren

WASHINGTON, September 13, 2016 – The U.S. household median income rose and the poverty rate fell – both improved significantly– from 2014 to 2015, according to today’s Census Bureau annual release of income, poverty and health insurance data. The improvements are consistent with, and undoubtedly, are drivers of the significant decline in food insecurity reported last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The 2015 poverty rate (13.5 percent), while an important decrease from the recession high of 15.1 percent (2010), is still well above the pre-recession rate of 12.5 percent in 2007. Similarly, the household food insecurity rate, 12.7 percent, down from 2014’s 14.0 percent and the recession high of 14.9 percent (2011), is well above the 11.1 percent rate in 2007.

It’s encouraging to see progress, but the nation still has a long way to go. There are still millions of families, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and others who struggle every day to get by, and children are especially vulnerable. One in five children lives in poverty and two in five are poor or near poor.

Poverty is the root cause of hunger, and it threatens the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and our country. Time and again, federal nutrition programs—such as SNAP, child care meals, school meals, and summer meals – have proven to mitigate the struggle against hunger and poverty. For instance, nationally, SNAP lifted 4.6 million people out of poverty in 2015, according to the Census Bureau’s latest report based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure.

We need to step up efforts to bolster jobs, wages and safety net programs, including the federal nutrition programs.

Election Day is quickly approaching, and the nation needs officeholders and candidates to speak now to how the nation will address these issues of poverty and hunger.

Statement attributed to FRAC President Jim Weill.

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