SEARCH

Entries in Recession (4)

Thursday
Nov032011

More Americans Than Ever in Poverty

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Great Recession has changed the face of poverty in America.

More people -- 46.2 million - live in poverty today than at any other time in American history. And compared to the 1990s they are more likely to be white, live in the Midwest, have a high school diploma and own a home, according to a Brookings Institute report released Thursday.

“This has been a really tough decade economically,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, an author of the Brookings Institute report. “After two economic downturns and falling incomes over the 2000s, we’ve seen that [poverty rate] push back up. It’s likely that we have not seen the last of the increases in America’s poor population.”

With manufacturing jobs disappearing and unemployment sticking above nine percent, poverty rates in some Midwest cities, such as Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, have doubled over the last decade. And in the South, poverty in some metro areas, such as El Paso, Texas and Baton Rouge, La., has increased by more than a third, according to the report.

“These communities tend to have higher crime rates, worse health outcomes for residents, schools are often poorer performing and there are fewer job opportunities and networks to connect people with jobs,” Kneebone said.

But despite these recent increases, America has seen darker days when it comes to people in poverty.

“Obviously we are not in a Great Depression,” said Linda Barrington, the managing director of Cornell University’s Institute for Compensation Studies. “We cannot make a comparison to what was happening then. But that doesn’t give us a lot to celebrate about.”

While there was no official poverty measure during the Great Depression, scholars estimate that about one-third of American families were critically poor. That is more than double the 15.1 percent poverty rate in 2010. However, because the population has nearly tripled since 1940, there is a larger number of Americans in poverty today than during the Great Depression.

“The point is [that] it is really high,” Barrington said. “But it’s not historically high.”

In fact, since an official poverty line was developed in the 1960s, the poverty rate has peaked above 15 percent only twice, in 1993, when it was also 15.1 percent, and in 1983, when it hit 15.2 percent.

To be classified as impoverished, a family of four has to earn less than $22,314 and an individual has to make less than $11,139, or about $30 per day.

“In the United States today, [poverty] doesn’t necessarily mean children starving in the streets and homeless people, although they are a small part of the poverty story,” said Shawn Fremstad, a senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “It is more about struggling, and running up debts, and cutting corners and all sorts of those things because of economic pressure.”

Both Fremstad and Barrington said the best way to lower the poverty rate is to jump-start the economy so it creates more jobs.

“The single most important thing is getting a job,” Barrington said. “If you’re poor and don’t have a job, you don’t have savings. You have to get money to get above the poverty line and you get money by working.”

While the national poverty rate is above 15 percent, only about seven percent of people working full time are below the poverty line.

“You can get the rate down from 15 to five by getting a lot more people employed,” Barrington said. “So jobs are the first thing.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan122011

Homelessness Increases Due to Recession

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The National Alliance to End Homelessness released a report Wednesday that showed the number of homeless families in the United States went up four percent during the recession in 2008 and 2009. 

Among those speaking at the Alliance presentation at the National Press Club was Ebony Roscoe, a one-time homeless single mother of four who recently found a job and got an apartment with the help of the Community of Hope in Washington, D.C.  "Staying and feeling stable within a school was difficult. It was hard enough moving from place to place and not knowing where we were actually going to be staying. So making and keeping stable friends made them feel sad at times," said Roscoe.

 Roscoe said even with her job she still relies on assistance which has dwindled due to the recession. "During the time of unemployment and even while employed now i make ends meet with assistance that i receive.  Benefits from social services have decreased tremendously but we still try to make things do."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov152010

Thanksgiving Turkey Shortage for Recession-Hit Families

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DENVER) -- From California to Connecticut, food banks and charities nationwide report that donations of frozen turkeys -- the cornerstone of a traditional Thanksgiving meal -- have fallen dramatically this holiday season.

"This year has been really tough," said Denver Rescue Mission's Greta Walker. "We started the turkey drive on November 1 and about ten days into it, we had zero turkeys. And I started to get really worried."

As of late Sunday, the mission was still 2,000 turkeys short of its goal.

"We know that people have been struggling with the economy," said Walker. "We can tell with our numbers every day."

Walker says the turkey shortage ripples out to smaller charities around the Denver area. That's because each year, the Denver Rescue Mission provides 5,000 turkeys to about 80 other charities and organizations including Volunteers of America.

Last year the Colorado branch of Volunteers of America asked the Denver Rescue Mission for 200 turkeys. Due to a growing need this year, they're now asking for 1,000 frozen birds.

"Across the board, need is going up and people are tightening their wallets," said Allison Kuthy of Volunteers of America. "It gets tough to do our jobs."

The fall in turkey donations this year is also compounded by a rise in turkey prices.

"Retail prices will be up, on average, about 20 percent this year," said Thomas Elam of Indiana-based FarmEcon, an agricultural industry consulting firm.

Elam blames rising costs on a reduction in turkey supply and production this year along with a steep jump in the price of corn and soybeans farmers feed growing birds. Now, higher prices at the supermarket may be causing fewer people to buy an extra turkey to donate.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Friday
Oct012010

Elko, Nevada: The City the Recession Forgot

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ELKO, Nev.) -- What the Himalayas were to Shangri-La -- a shield from harm -- so gold has been to Elko, Nev. This city has thrived the past two years.

"They call it the town the recession forgot," says local Mary Haigwood.

Elko, about 300 miles east of Reno, sits astride the biggest gold deposit ever found in North America: the Carlin Trend. It is five miles wide and 40 miles long. Over 50 million troy ounces of gold have been produced here, more than came from California's fabled Gold Rush.

As the metal's price has risen, mining giants, including Newmont and Barrick, have kept hiring, even as employers elsewhere in the U.S. were laying off. Unemployment, says Barrick spokesman Louis Schack, is low.

"We employ about 3,600 people in Nevada, and the majority reside in Elko. We've added several hundred new jobs in recent years," Schack said.

Since the 1970s, the industry has pumped some $6 billion into Nevada infrastructure, most of it going to mines in or around Elko. The area's population has risen from 7,000 to close to 50,000.

In Reno and Las Vegas, the housing bubble may have burst. Not here. Foreclosures, says Barrick's Schack, are few. There's even been some growth in housing. A nice home goes for $100,000.

It's not as if Elko hasn't seen tough times. When gold's price tumbled in the late 1990s, the town suffered and the mines laid people off. Stores downtown were boarded up. Today, though, gold's warm glow bathes every business. At Mona's Ranch, a legal brothel on Third Street, there's a sign that says, "Now Hiring."´╗┐

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio