It’s census data release day – what’s the story for WA?

census formIt’s a big day for policy wonks – today the U.S. Census Bureau released 2011 data from the American Community Survey, the largest yearly data collection of demographic, housing, social, and economic information in the United States.

The American Community Survey (ACS) began gathering information in 2005, and covers about 3 million households per year. Here’s a great infographic about the ACS, and how it differs from the Current Population Survey.

Now back to the data. Digging through the data release takes some time – and finding the highlights can be tedious, but a few points jump out immediately when comparing the 2010 and 2011 data for Washington state. Here’s what we noticed:

  • From 2010 to 2011, the poverty rate among single mothers with young kids increased from 47.9% in 2010 to 51.3% in 2011. The poverty rate for single mothers with young children was 41% in 2009.
  • There was a measurable increase in people utilizing Food Stamp/SNAP benefits, up from 13.3% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2011. That’s an increase of about 100,000 people since 2009, when the rate was 11.1%.
  • Median earnings for a male, full-time worker increased 1.9% to $53,046. Median earning for a female, full time worker  also increased 1.9% to $40,993 – but remains at just 77% of the median wage for men.
  • The number of adults without health insurance held steady at 14.2%.

These are preliminary findings, but they show Washington families are continuing to struggle in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

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