Some highlights as quoted from the release:
- In 2005, 9.3% of Connecticut residents (326,000) had incomes under the Federal Poverty Level ($19,961 for a family of four). For the two-year period of 2004-05, the poverty rate increased significantly from 7.5% in 2000/2001 to 9.7% in 2004-2005. This increase occurred despite the state's recent economic recovery.
- In 2005, 12.4% of Connecticut children under 18 (103,000 children) lived in families with incomes under the Federal Poverty Level, a slight, but not statistically significant increase from the levels of recent years despite the state's economic recovery. Further, the 2005 Connecticut child poverty estimate represents no progress over the 1990 child poverty rate of 10.4%, despite record-low unemployment in the 1990s, ten straight years of growth in productivity in Connecticut's economy, and an aggressive 10-year effort to move welfare recipients into the workforce.
- In addition, the Census Bureau reported that 11.3% (394,000) of Connecticut residents in 2005 were without health insurance coverage for the entire previous 12-month period. For the two-year period of 2004-05, the percentage of uninsured residents increased significantly from 10% in 2000/2001 to 11.3% in 2004-2005. This increase occurred despite the state's recent economic recovery.
- In 2005, among Connecticut children under 18, 8.2% (68,000 children) were uninsured for the entire year, unchanged from the recent years, despite signs of an improving Connecticut economy. In Connecticut, 76.4% of residents were covered by employer-based or privately-purchased insurance in 2005.
In response to this Connecticut Voices for Children wants the CT Congressional delegation to oppose the repeal of the Estate tax, oppose funding cuts that would most affect low-income families, and protect federal funding for childcare, energy assistance, and K-12 programs that promote the health and well-being of Connecticut residents.
Healthcare is a frequently debated topic among candidates but they don't spend as time on poverty. Lamont touched on it while appearing with Senator Edwards a few weeks ago but otherwise local politicians from both parties rarely mention it. In many ways it's easier to debate issues that affect poverty rather than poverty itself.
How should politicians approach this? Is it enough to discuss related issues or is a direct approach more appropriate?
Sullivan, Michael. "Census Bureau: increase in CT poverty & uninsured ". Connecticut Voices for Children Press Release. 8/29/06