Poverty in the U.S.: Trends over Time

The following graphs are from the 2004 report by the U.S. Census Bureau on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States (http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p60-229.pdf). As shown in the first graph, the poverty rate declined in the U.S. during the 1960s and early 1970s. Since that time, rate of poverty has fluctuated between 12 and 15 percent of the population.
The next graph depicts trends in poverty rates by age, and shows the sharp decrease in poverty rates among people aged 65 years and older since the early 1960s. Whereas older people were far more likely than other age groups to live in poverty in the 1950s, government programs such as Medicare and Social Security have successfully reduced the elderly poverty rate to a level that is lower than the U.S. average. On the other hand, the poverty rate for children remains substantially above the national average.
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