The nation's official poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2003 to 12.7
percent in 2004, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
There were 37 million in poverty in 2004, up from 35.9 million in 2003. There
were 7.9 million families in poverty in 2004, up from 7.6 million in 2003. The
poverty rate for families remained unchanged at 10.2 percent. The poverty rate
and the number in poverty showed no change for the different type of families.
As defined by the Office of Management and Budget and updated for inflation
using the Consumer Price Index, the average poverty threshold for a family of
four in 2004 was an income of $19,307; for a family of three, $15,067; for a
family of two, $12,334; and for unrelated individuals, $9,645.
Meanwhile, real median household income remained unchanged between 2003 and
2004 at $44,389. However, the real median earnings of both men and women who
worked full-time, year-round declined between 2003 and 2004. The median earnings
of men declined by 2.3 percent, from $41,761 to $40,798, and the median earnings
of women declined by 1.0 percent, from $31,550 to $31,223. Connecticut, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia had among the highest
median earnings for both men and women who worked full-time, year-round.
In each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, women's earnings were
less than men's in 2004. The District of Columbia was the area with the greatest
parity between men's and women's earnings. There, women earned 91 cents for
every dollar that men earned.
The number of people with health insurance increased by 2.0 million to 245.3
million between 2003 and 2004, and the number without such coverage rose by
800,000 to 45.8 million.