New Census Data Indicate Maine Income Growth Stagnant: Maine tied for last among the New England states in income growth and poverty

Augusta, Maine (Wednesday, September 12, 2012) New figures released today from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey reinforce concerns that Maine’s economy is stalled and hardship for Maine families is on the rise.  The data show that inflation-adjusted median household income in Maine is no higher than it was over a decade ago, and that the percentage of Mainers living in poverty has increased substantially over the last four years. Median household income in 2010-2011 averaged $49,568, which was not statistically different from $47,591 in 2000-2001. Meanwhile, Maine’s poverty rate in 2010-2011 was 13%, a significant increase from 10.5% in 2006-2007 and 10.2% in 2000-2001.
“The new census data provides another warning that Maine needs to change course and adopt policies that invest in infrastructure, education and innovation to encourage strong economic growth, create good jobs and foster shared prosperity,” said Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) Executive Director Garrett Martin.  “The data to be released next week will further demonstrate that without key programs currently under assault by policymakers, like the earned income tax credit, ‘circuit breaker’ property tax relief and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, that the impact of poverty in Maine would be far more severe.”
Among the New England states, Maine tied with Rhode Island for the highest poverty rate in 2011. Maine’s median household income in 2011 was not statistically different from Rhode Island, so the two states tied for last place in New England.
The data results from this survey are preliminary. It is the only data available on state poverty and health insurance trends through 2011. On Thursday, September 20, the Census Bureau will release more definitive 2011 data as part of the American Community Survey, which samples a much larger number of households.