US Census reported today that one in six American households live in poverty. The continued struggle of the economy and high unemployment has devastated the middle class, and their ranks have disappeared into poor class, people who can barely survive. About forty-six million people now live in poverty, the highest number since 1959, according to US census reports. Officially according to census reports, a family of four making less than $22,314 is defined as living in poverty.
The long winding unemployment and the highest unemployment rate at 9.2 percent over two years and a struggling economy have shattered the hopes of the American dream for millions. As poverty rose, the median income declined to $49, 445. The income levels have not stopped declining. Additionally, the worst may not be over. The continuing demand for food stamps and high numbers of unemployed always contributes to more declines. Just about 6 million people are now long-term unemployed, meaning they are jobless for longer than six months.
The number of uninsured Americans rose to 16.3 percent up from 16.1 percent, mainly due to job losses as employer-paid healthcare became beyond the reach of the unemployed. The Healthcare reform bill hardly made a dent in the overall benefits to the nation as poverty made its way up. However, there is one silver lining in the statistics since the passage of the Healthcare reform act the number of uninsured people aged 18 to 26 has dropped from 29.1 percent to 27 percent due to coverage provided by parent’s policies. That is not much, but certain improvement in the overall numbers.
GEARING FOR LOW-END PRODUCTS
The retailers understand these new statistics, and many retail manufacturers like Proctor and Gamble and Saks Fifth avenue has changed their marketing tactics and outlays. Proctor and Gamble have adopted an hour-glass online strategy serving either more expensive buyers or lower end of buyers in keeping with values because of the shrinking middle class and dropping income levels. As income levels decline, people are more tend to buy products differently and prefer lower prices, which often have lower-end products at grocery stores and retail outlets along with other durable goods.
Geographically speaking, the poverty rate was the highest in Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Arizona. Poverty rose highest among Hispanics from 25.3 percent to 26.3 percent and among blacks from 25.8 percent to 28.3 percent. The only group that escaped being hit by poverty statistics was Asians.
ELECTION YEAR POLITICS
During an election year, there would be a great amount of discussion on the fortunes of the people and how they fared during President Trump’s term. Higher unemployment and higher poverty levels among Hispanic and Black voters would be detrimental to his chances of re-election. It remains to be seen how these high levels of poverty could be overcome as the nation’s efforts and resources are already being directed elsewhere into defense spending, which consumes just about two billion dollars a week.