In the wake of the news last week that a record number of Americans now live in poverty, Pro Publica has put together a striking list of statistics that shed light on the scope of the problem. Here are a few that caught our eye:
• Official U.S. poverty rate in 2010: 15.1 percent
• Last time the poverty level was this high: 1993
• Poverty rate in the American suburbs: 11.8 percent, the highest since 1967.
• Poverty rate for African-Americans in 2010: 27.4 percent.
• Decline in median household income since before the recession: 6.4 percent
• The last time median household incomes have been this low: 1996
• Percentage of Americans who didn't have health care in 2010: 16.3 percent
Meanwhile, a new analysis shows that over the last decade, Americans have seen their average wages increase at only two of the highest levels of educational attainment: those who have matriculated with law-, medical-, or business-school degrees; and those with Ph.ds. All five of the other groups--those with masters degrees, college degrees, some college, high-school diplomas, and some high-school--have seen their wages fall.
Some say not to worry about any of this, though. As Fox News's Brit Hume asked this morning: "If inequality is at a very much higher level, who cares?"