The number of Americans without health insurance increased in 2018 from the previous year, despite a strong national economy. But it’s a different – and better – story in Louisiana. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows the uninsured rate in the Pelican State decreased from 8.4% to 8% – even as the national uninsured rate climbed from 8.7% to 8.9%.* The New York Times offers perspective on the national numbers:
“In a period of continued economic growth, continued job growth, you would certainly hope that you wouldn’t be going backwards when it comes to insurance coverage,” said Sharon Parrott, senior vice president at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Census Bureau also released national data on income and poverty. The median household income in the United States was $63,200, statistically unchanged since last year, after adjusting for inflation. But the national poverty rate fell to 11.8%, down 0.5 percentage points. State-level poverty and income data will be released later this month.
*The change in Louisiana’s uninsured rate was not statistically significant. The change in national rate was statistically significant.
Historic hiring milestone for women of color
For the first time in history, the majority of working-age hires in the United States are people of color, with women playing a critical role in pushing the country over that threshold. Economists point to a tight labor market that is forcing employers to look beyond their usual workforce. But cultural changes and rising educational attainment also play a role. The Washington Post’s Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam report:
Minority women began to pour into the labor market in 2015, and they have begun to reshape the demographics of the U.S. workforce, especially because many white baby boomers have been retiring. There are 5.2 million more people in the United States with jobs than at the end of 2016, and 4.5 million of them are minorities, according to The Post’s analysis of Labor Department data.
Family tax credits offer critical support to women of color
The Earned Income Tax Credit boosted the income of 9 million women of color in 2019, while the federal Child Tax Credit increased the take-home pay of 7 million women of color. Several proposals in Congress aim to make these important work-incentive programs more effective. Chuck Marr and Yixuan Huang of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explosion why these tax credits play such an important role in promoting economic equity for women and families of color.
That’s largely because people of color are far likelier than white people to work in low-paid occupations, work part-time or part-year instead of full-time and year-round, and have lower wages within a given occupation, trends that reflect both the legacy of severe discrimination and continued structural barriers to opportunity.
Proposed SNAP changes worse than expected
More people than originally estimated could lose their SNAP benefits because of a new eligibility requirement, according to new analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Mathematica. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had predicted that 3.1 million people, or 1.7 million households could lose their food benefits under new eligibility requirements. But the new figures suggest that 3.6 million people, or 1.9 million households could be affected. Route Fifty’s Kate Elizabeth Queram explains:
The analysis found that in 20 states more than 10% of households currently on SNAP would lose eligibility under the change. That impact would be disproportionately felt by households in the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest and in Texas. In Wisconsin, for example, the analysis concluded 62,696 households (18% of the 357,240 households that currently receive benefits) would lose benefits, while 16% of households on SNAP in Washington (88,375) and Oregon (66,622) would be affected.
You can comment here to oppose this change. Comments close on Sept. 23.
Number of the Day
8% – The percentage of Louisianans without health insurance in 2018. The national uninsured rate was 8.9% (Source: American Community Survey)