“The new census data show that Maine’s middle class families have been treading water economically for more than fifteen years now, and there is no sign of declining poverty rates in the wake of the Great Recession” said Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) economist Joel Johnson. “The data released today provide a good view of longer-term trends, but the Census Bureau will release more detailed data later in the week that can paint a more detailed picture of how Mainers are faring from year to year in this sluggish recovery from the recent recession.”
“Today’s data show a dramatic decline of almost 31 percent in the number of Maine children without health insurance coverage, and these gains were largely due to the success of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), launched in 1998, along with Medicaid, which combined to cover 44,800 more children in the state,” said Ned McCann, Executive Director of the Maine Children’s Alliance, the state’s leading advocate for sound public policies that improve the lives of children, youth, and families. “While today’s data show that Maine has made progress over the last decade in reducing the number of children who live without health insurance, data set for release on Thursday will likely confirm that an unacceptably large number of Maine children- nearly 1 in 4 -live in poverty. We must do more to reduce child poverty by expanding income support and safety net programs for children with families.”
The data released today are useful for analyzing long-term trends in poverty, income and health insurance through 2012. On Thursday (September 19) the Census Bureau will release more extensive and definitive data from its American Community Survey which samples a much larger number of households and allows for analysis of more recent annual changes in poverty, income, and health insurance.