Number Of Uninsured Down, Poverty Rates Stagnant In Northwest

By Jessica Robinson

Idaho and Oregon are among the states that have seen a decrease in the number of uninsured. The drop was mainly due to an increase in the number of people enrolled in public insurance programs, like Medicaid. Those are some of the findings of new reports out Thursday from the Census Bureau.

The American Community Survey provides a state-by-state breakdown on income, poverty and health insurance, among other measures. The Northwest, like the rest of the nation, saw the poverty rate hold steady between 2011 and 2012. Washington state, in contrast to Oregon and Idaho, didn't see a drop last year in the number of people without health insurance.

Marieka Klawitter studies poverty issues at the University of Washington.

Marieka Klawitter: “I think that these numbers reflect what we've all been feeling, which is that even though we're officially no longer in a recession, unemployment rates have been slow to drop, incomes haven't gone up significantly.”

One notable exception is Oregon's median household income. It rose by 3.3 percent in 2012. Oregon is one of only four states where that happened.

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