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Census: Poverty Up In NC, Health Insurance Rate Steady

US Census
US Census Bureau

The latest Census report shows North Carolina continues a slow crawl out of the economic downturn.

In 2012, more people lived below the poverty level in North Carolina than they did the year before.  The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows 18% of North Carolinians live in poverty compared to about 16% nationally.

Ed Welniak heads the Income Statistics branch of the Census Bureau.

"You are higher than the national average and typically what we see when we look at the other states, the states in the south typically have a higher poverty rate than the North or the Midwest," said Welniak.

The report shows the state’s median household income is $45,150, a lot lower than it used to be.

“North Carolina since 2000 has actually fallen ten percent below the 2000 level, after adjusting for inflation.  But that’s not uncommon.  There are many, many states whose income is lower today than it was back in 2000," said Welniak.

The national median household income is $51,371, relatively unchanged from the year before.

The Census report also shows a decline in the number of North Carolinians with private health insurance over the past year and an increase in those with public insurance.  The number of uninsured has remained about the same, just over 16%. 

The fewest percentage of uninsured people in the state live in Cary and Jacksonville.  The highest number of uninsured live in the Winston-Salem and Charlotte areas.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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