August 30, 2005

U.S. poverty rate rises; ranks of poor whites expand

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. poverty rate rose in 2004,
driven by an increase in the number of poor non-Hispanic
whites, while the median income for Americans as a whole
remained stable, the government said on Tuesday.

The percentage of the U.S. population living in poverty
rose to 12.7 percent from 12.5 percent in 2003, as 1.1 million
more people slipped into poverty last year, the Census Bureau
said in its annual poverty report.

The ranks of the poor rose to 37.0 million, up from 35.9
million the previous year, the report said.

The poverty rate rose for only one group -- non-Hispanic
whites -- which had an 8.6 percent poverty rate for 2004
compared with 8.2 percent in 2003. The poverty rate declined
for Asians and remained unchanged for blacks and Hispanics, the
report showed.

The real median household income in 2004 totaled $44,389,
flat from 2003 and marking the second consecutive year in which
income showed no change.

Black households had the lowest median income among race
groups, at $30,134, while Asian households had the highest, at
$57,518. The median-income for non-Hispanic white households
was $48,977 and was $34,241 for Hispanic households.

Income was unchanged in each census region except the U.S.
Midwest, where it declined 2.8 percent to $44,657, the report