Poverty and Uninsured Rates Remain High in Texas
Texas weathered the 2008 recession better than most states, but the state’s median income remains below 2000 levels, and the poverty and uninsured rates remain high, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.
The state was one of only two where the poverty rate declined, dropping to 17.9 percent in 2012 from 18.5 percent in 2011, the highest rate recorded since 2000. Minnesota’s rate also declined.
The bureau’s annual American Community Survey found that in 2012 about 4.5 million Texans lived in poverty, defined as an annual income of less than $18,480 a year for a family of three. Nationally, the percentage of people living in poverty stands at 15.9 percent. In 2000, Texas’ poverty rate was 15.1 percent.
A thriving oil and gas industry has kept unemployment below the national average since 2007, the last year before the Great Recession. Since 2008, Texas has been a national leader in adding jobs, but between 2008 and 2012, the percentage of people under 65 years old with private health insurance dropped from 57.6 percent to 54.7 percent.