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Native Americans still poorest in United States

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  • berkman@riseup.net
    Native Americans still poorest in United States Wednesday, August 30, 2006 Income levels have risen and poverty rates have stabilized but Native Americans
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2006
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      Native Americans still poorest in United States
      Wednesday, August 30, 2006

      Income levels have risen and poverty rates have stabilized but Native
      Americans remain the poorest in the nation, according to figures released
      by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday.

      From 2004 to 2005, the average American household earned $46,326, an
      increase of 1.1 percent. It was the first time since 1999 that the median
      household income rose, the Census said.

      But incomes for American Indian and Alaska Native homes remained well
      below the rest of the nation. Based on a three-year average from 2003 to
      2005, the median income was $33,627, lower than incomes for white, Asian
      and Hispanic households.

      Only African-American households, with a median income of $31,140, ranked
      below Native households.

      Turning to poverty, 2005 marked the first time that poverty rates have not
      risen. For four consecutive years, the Census has reported an increase in
      the number of Americans living below the poverty line.

      Despite the stabilization, there are still 37 million people, or 12.6
      percent of the population, and 7.7 million families in poverty. Among
      American Indians and Alaska Natives, the picture was much worse.

      According to a three-year average of data, 25.3 percent of Native
      Americans are living in poverty. This was actually a slight increase from
      the 24.3 percent that the Census reported in its last report on income and
      poverty.

      The figure translated to 537,00 American Indians and Alaska Natives who
      were below the poverty line. As defined by the Office of Management and
      Budget, the poverty threshold for a family of four in 2005 was $19,971;
      for a family of three, $15,577; for a family of two, $12,755; and for
      unrelated individuals, $9,973.

      The report, "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United
      States: 2005," also contained figures on health insurance coverage. The
      Census said the number of people with and without insurance rose from 2004
      to 2005.

      Nearly 30 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives, or about 661,000
      people, were uninsured, according to the data. This was statistically
      unchanged from figures released last year.

      Only Hispanics had a higher uninsured rate of 32.7 percent, again the same
      as the year prior.

      The Census used to count people whose only source of care was the Indian
      Health Service as insured. But since 1988, IHS-only patients are
      considered uninsured.

      "The effect of this change on the overall estimates of health insurance
      coverage was negligible," the report stated.

      The figures released yesterday were open to interpretation by Democrats
      and Republicans. Democratic leaders said it was proof that President
      Bush's administration hasn't done anything to improve the lives of
      Americans.

      Republicans said immigrants are to blame for the lack of significant
      improvement. But people who weren't born in the United States still had
      higher income levels and higher rates of insurance coverage than Native
      Americans.




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