Friday, September 23, 2011

2010 Income and Employment Data Shows Declines In Many Communities

The recently released Census Bureau 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) mirrors the high poverty rates and low employment rates revealed in the national poverty data from the 2010 Current Population Survey. The ACS provides poverty and other data down to the level of congressional district, metropolitan area, county and any place with a population of at least 65,000.

As many who work in communities know first hand, the ACS data show that the impact of the recession is still being felt throughout the nation. While the National Bureau of Economic Research states that the recession ended in June 2009, no state showed an increase in household income between 2009 and 2010. In fact, many showed a decline. Between the 2009 and 2010, the real median household income in the U.S. fell by 2.2. percent (from $51,190 to $50,046).  In 29 states, the median household income for 2010 was lower than that of the U.S.  Further, median household income decreased in 35 states when compared to those states' median household income in 2009. In addition, while income inequality (as measured by the Gini index) was not statistically different in the U.S. between 2009 and 2010, it increased in nine states (Nevada, California, Vermonth, Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Indiana, and Idaho) between 2009 and 2010. Four states (Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York) and D.C. had a higher rate of income inequality for 2010 than the U.S.

In addition, the ACS data on employment reflect the challenges many communities are facing to find stable employment for residents.  While the rate of educational attainment has continued to increase, the employment to population ratio has continued to decline.  The ACS employment/population ratio measure shows the number of people of working age (16-64 years) who are employed. Unlike the unemployment rate, the employment/population ratio captures those who have stopped looking for work.  Between 2008 and 2010, the U.S. experienced a 4.9 percentage point decline in the employment/population ratio (from 71.5 to 66.6).  During this time, fifteen metropolitan areas saw larger employment/population declines than the nation. Between 2009 and 2010, the employment/population ratio declined by 1.6 percentage points. In addition, the majority of the 50 largest metropolitan areas (43) experienced declining employment/populations ratios during this time. Eight of these 50 largest metropolitan areas suffered larger employment/population declines than the nation (Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC; Jacksonville, FL; Las Vegas-Paradise, NV; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN; Providence-New  Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA; and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA).

As your community continues to advocate for funding and needed supports, it will be critical to gather and analyze this this data to make the case about the needs of your residents. To find more information and statistics for your area, see the Census Bureau's American FactFinder database. In addition, Half in Ten has developed two interactive maps displaying poverty data by state and by congressional district. These maps include demographic data, including for women, children and racial/ethnic groups (where available):
For more information also see the ACS Briefs:

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