World Economy

15% Americans Live in Poverty

15% Americans Live in Poverty15% Americans Live in Poverty

The median annual household income in the US last year fell 1.5% to $53,657, according to Census Bureau data released on Wednesday, RT reported.

“In 2014, real median household income was 6.5% lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession,” the report said.

The report also showed no change in the poverty rate during the year. Some 46.7 million US citizens, or about 15% of the population, lived in poverty last year. The number hasn’t changed since 2013.

Republican Paul Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, said the census figures showed efforts to fight poverty were not working.

“This disappointing data, five years into an economic recovery, underscores the need for a new effort to modernize our country’s safety net programs,” said Ryan in a statement.

While the report showed that the US unemployment rate has fallen to 5.1%, wage gains have fallen behind. Some 6.5 million Americans are working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job.

The census bureau also reported that the number of Americans without health insurance has dropped to 33 million, or 10.4% of the population, from 41.8 million, or 13.3% in 2013.

Under the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare, Americans face fines if they do not have health insurance, the report said.

2014 was the first year Americans have had to deal with tax credits and penalties pertaining to the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 7.5 million taxpayers reported paying a total of $1.5 billion in penalties.

More Americans paid the penalty for not having healthcare coverage in 2014 than the tax authorities originally estimated, the IRS commissioner confirmed in a letter to members of Congress. The vast majority of US taxpayers had qualifying health coverage.