US in "Economic Recovery" Right?

The poverty rate in 2004 remained significantly higher than in 2001, the year of the recession. The number of people in poverty increased from 32.9 million in 2001 and 35.9 million in 2003 to 37 million in 2004. The poverty rate rose from 11.7 percent in 2001 (and 12.5 percent in 2003) to 12.7 percent in 2004. The rise in poverty in 2004 is particularly disturbing because 2004 represented the third full year of the economic recovery.

Contrary to the impression left by a Census official today, this three-year poverty trend is not typical for recoveries.

-- In no other downturn over the past 45 years did poverty increase between the second and third full years of the recovery.

-- In all other downturns except that of the early 1990s, the poverty rate by the third year of the recovery was at or below the poverty rate in the recession year itself. In 2004, by contrast, the poverty rate was a full percentage point higher than in 2001, the recession year.

The number of Americans who are uninsured climbed again in 2004. The percentage of people who are uninsured remained unchanged, but at a level well above the percentage in 2000, prior to the recession. Some 45.8 million people were uninsured in 2004, an increase of 800,000 people over 2003. The percentage of the population without insurance remained unchanged at 15.7 percent. Since 2000, the number of uninsured has increased by 6 million, and the percentage of Americans without insurance has risen from 14.2 percent to 15.7 percent. The Census data show that the proportion of Americans lacking health insurance would have been even higher if it were not for the increase in the number of people covered by public health insurance, most notably Medicaid.

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