Census: PR poverty up, income down
Puerto Rico’s poverty rate was pegged at 45.6 percent in 2011, up slightly from the 45 percent mark in 2010, according to the Census Bureau data released Thursday.
The Census numbers show that nearly 1.673 million island residents were living below the federal poverty line last year, up from roughly 1.659 million in 2010.
The poverty rate in Puerto Rico remained far ahead of the poorest state, Mississippi, where 22.6 percent of the population was below the poverty line in 2011.
The current federal poverty line for a family of four with two minor children is $22,881 per year.
The median household income in Puerto Rico fell to $18,660 last year, dropping from $19,370 in 2010, the new Census data shows.
Puerto Rico also posted the highest income inequality index in the Census survey, barely edging out Washington, D.C.
The percentage of Puerto Ricans on food stamps inched up from 36.7 percent in 2010 to 37.5 percent in 2011.
Puerto Rico has a higher rate of health insurance coverage than any state at 92.5 percent in 2011, up from 92 percent in 2010. However, Puerto Rico had the lowest rate of private health insurance at 40.8 percent in 2011, down from 42.2 percent in 2010 and well below the national average of 60.8 percent. More than 2 million Puerto Rico residents are covered by the island government’s Mi Salud (Medicaid) program.