A new U.S. Census Bureau report reveals the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million — one in six Americans — the highest number since the Bureau began tracking such data more than 50 years ago. According to the report, blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 54 percent of the poor, with whites at 9.9 percent and Asians at 12.1 percent. Children under 18 suffered the highest poverty rate.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans with employer-provided health insurance has also continued to decline, and the ranks of the uninsured now hovers just below the 50 million mark, the most in more than two decades. Analysts say the numbers would have been worse if not for government assistance programs, including extended unemployment compensation, stimulus spending, Obama’s health reforms, and Social Security. We speak with Heidi Shierholz, labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute.