CSG Midwest
Some notable trends in poverty, health insurance and household income in the Midwest were revealed in recently released U.S. Census Bureau data.
CSG Midwest

Median household income levels rose and poverty rates fell between 2014 and 2015 in states across the Midwest, recently released U.S. Census Bureau statistics show. Wisconsin’s year-by-year rise in household income was 5.6 percent ($52,709 to $55,638), highest in the region and one of the sharpest gains in the country.

CSG Midwest
One policy consequence of the Great Recession was a rise across the country in the use of these waivers, which lift limits on the amount of time that able-bodied adults without dependents can receive payments under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. If a state does not seek and receive such a federal waiver, its able-bodied recipients can receive food stamps for only three months over any three-year period.
The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily suspended these time limits across the country, thus simplifying the process for states to secure a waiver. More recently, though, with jobless rates falling in many parts of the country, federal policy has reverted to pre-recession rules under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.

The past few years – particularly following the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and subsequent investigations – have brought increased attention to a mounting problem: jailing the poor when they can’t pay fines and fees ordered by courts. This practice has been called the “criminalization of poverty”.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released an infographic depicting how the government has measured and tracked poverty since 1960. Check it out here:

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent - which means a total of 46.7 million people in the U.S. fell under the poverty line. The poverty threshold for a single person under the age of 65 with no children was $12,316 in 2014.  For a family of four, the poverty threshold was $24,230.

According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, real median household income held steady in 2014 at $53,657, with no statistically significant difference over 2013 levels. The same was true of the official poverty rate, which has remained around 14.8 percent for four consecutive years. The report, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014, also found that the percentage of people without health insurance coverage declined nearly 3 percentage points, falling from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 10.4 percent in 2014.

However, for each of these measures, states varied widely. Choose an infographic below to learn more.

The poverty guidelines for 2015 are available and published here in the Federal Register. These guidelines -- often cited as 100 percent of the federal poverty line -- are used to determine eligibility for a number of stata and federal programs. Sometimes eligibility is greater than 100 percent; for instance, the Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of federal poverty. 

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the national poverty rate fell from 15.0 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013 - the first time the rate has fallen in eight years. The poverty rate for children under 18 also declined in 2013 for the first time since 2000 - from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013.

Researchers at the Center for American Progress estimate that hunger costs the U.S. at least $167.5 billion every year based on a combination of lost economic productivity, increased education expenses, avoidable health care costs, and the cost of charity.