Martin Luther King Jr. was an outspoken advocate for the poor and less fortunate. At the time of his death, he was organizing a cross-racial Poor People’s Campaign that raised many issues still important today. Many Americans—particularly communities of color and young people—continue to lack access to economic opportunities and this must be addressed if we are to truly carry on Dr. King’s work.
This by-the-numbers piece takes a look at how many Americans are still struggling to find a way out of poverty, find employment, and gain both health care and education not only for themselves but for their families.
- 46.2 million: The number of Americans in poverty in 2010.
- 76.7 million: Number of people in families who were living below $44,000 for a family of four (two times the federal poverty line).
- 39.1: Percentage of African American children less than 18 years old in poverty.
- 12.4: Percentage of white children less than 18 years old in poverty.
- 13.1 million: Total number of unemployed Americans.
- 42.5: Percentage of people unemployed for at least 27 weeks in December of 2011.
- 49.1 million people under 65 didn’t have insurance in 2010.
- 41: Percentage of those under 65 in poverty without insurance.
- 32 million: Number of people who will gain insurance under the Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
- 66 million: Number of people who could be insured under Medicaid by 2019. Under the Affordable Care Act, it’s anticipated that Medicaid will expand in 2014.