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National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2012 May.

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Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health.

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Background

Adult Poverty

During 1990–2010, the percentage of adults living in poverty fluctuated between 10% and 13% and varied by race and ethnicity.

Poor adults are more likely to be in poor health, to be uninsured, and to die at a younger age than nonpoor adults (14). In 2010, 13% of adults 18 years of age and over (30 million adults) lived in poverty, including 14% of 18–64 year olds and 9% of adults 65 years of age and older (1).

Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of adults 18 years of age and over living in poverty fluctuated between 10% and 13%. Between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of Hispanic adults and black adults living in poverty declined, while the percentage living in poverty fluctuated between 7% and 9% for non-Hispanic white adults and between 9% and 14% for Asian adults. During the 2000s, the percentage living in poverty increased for most groups. Hispanic adults and black adults had poverty rates at least twice as high as non-Hispanic white adults and Asian adults between 1990 and 2010.

The percentage of adults in the four relative family income groups shown in many of the subsequent charts differs by race and ethnicity. In 2010, 23% of black adults and 22% of Hispanic adults lived below the poverty level, compared with 11% of Asian and 9% of non-Hispanic white adults. Nearly one-half of black adults and Hispanic adults lived below 200% of poverty, as did 27% of Asian adults and 25% of non-Hispanic white adults. One in four (24%) black and one in five (19%) Hispanic adults lived at 400% or more of the poverty level, compared with almost one-half of Asian adults (45%) and non-Hispanic white adults (45%).

Figure 31 consists of a line graph and four pie charts showing adults 18 years of age and over, by percent of poverty level and race and Hispanic origin, for 1990 through 2010.

Figure 31Adults 18 years of age and over, by percent of poverty level and race and Hispanic origin: United States, 1990–2010

References

1.
DeNavas-Walt C, Proctor BD, Smith JC. U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60–239. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2011. Income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States: 2010. Available from: http://www​.census.gov​/prod/2011pubs/p60-239.pdf.
2.
Lantz PM, House JS, Lepkowski JM, Williams DR, Mero RP, Chen J. Socioeconomic factors, health behaviors, and mortality: Results from a nationally representative prospective study of U.S. adults. JAMA. 1998;279(21):1703–8. [PubMed: 9624022]
3.
Winkleby MA, Cubbin C. Influence of individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic status on mortality among black, Mexican-American, and white women and men in the United States. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2003;57(6):444–52. [PMC free article: PMC1732485] [PubMed: 12775792]
4.
Banks J, Marmot M, Oldfield Z, Smith JP. Disease and disadvantage in the United States and in England. JAMA. 2006;295(17):2037–45. [PubMed: 16670412]

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