This article by Syed Ehtisham is well worth re-posting in full for its list of statistics and facts although some are dated and will be far higher now.
America is the richest nation in history, yet it has the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world with an unprecedented amount of Americans living in dire straits.
50 percent of U.S. children will use food stamps to eat at some point in their childhood. Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day. 1
In 2009, one out of five U.S. households didn’t have enough money to buy food. In households with children, this number rose to 24 percent, as the hunger rate among U.S. citizens has now reached an all-time high. 2
Bankruptcies continue to skyrocket. Health care bill related bankruptcies are responsible for over 60 percent of them. Over 75 percent of the medical bankruptcies filed, are from people who have health care insurance. 3
In total, Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings since the economic crisis began and $13 trillion in the value of their homes. During the first full year of the crisis, workers between the ages of 55 – 60, who have worked for 20 – 29 years, lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. “Personal debt has risen from 65 percent of income in 1980 to 125 percent today.” 5
Over five million U.S. families have already lost their homes; in total 13 million U.S. families are expected to lose their home by 2014, with 25 percent of current mortgages underwater. Deutsche Bank has an even grimmer prediction: “The percentage of’underwater’ loans may rise to 48 percent, or 25 million homes.” 6
Every day, 10,000 U.S. homes enter foreclosure.
Statistics show that an increasing number of these people are not finding shelter elsewhere, there are now over 3 million homeless Americans; the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population is single parents with children. 7
The one place more and more Americans are finding a home is in prison. With a prison population of 2.3 million people, the U.S. now has more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world — the per capita statistics are 700 per 100,000 citizens. In comparison, China has 110 per 100,000, France has 80 per 100,000 and Saudi Arabia has 45 per 100,000.
The prison industry is thriving and expecting major growth over the next few years. A recent report from the Hartford Advocate titled “Incarceration Nation” revealed that “A new prison opens every week somewhere in America.” 8.
The government unemployment rate is deceptive. It doesn’t count people who are “Involuntary part-time workers,” meaning workers who are working part-time but want to find full-time work. It also doesn’t count “discouraged workers,” meaning long-term unemployed people who have lost hope and don’t consistently look for work. As time goes by, more and more people stop consistently looking for work and are discounted
from the unemployment figure. For instance, in January, 2010, 1.1 million workers were eliminated from the Unemployment total because they were “officially” labeled discouraged workers. So instead of the number rising, we will hear deceptive reports about unemployment leveling off. On top of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently discovered that 824,000 job losses were never accounted for due to a “modeling error” in their data. Even in their initial January 2010 data there appears to be a huge understating, with the newest report saying the economy lost 20,000 jobs. TrimTabs Employment Analysis, which has consistently provided more accurate data, “Estimated that the U.S. economy shed 104,000 jobs in January, 2010″ .
When you factor in all these uncounted workers — “involuntary part-time” and “discouraged workers” — the unemployment rate rises from 9.7 percent to over 20 percent. In total, we now have over 30 million U.S. citizens who are unemployed or underemployed. The rarely cited “employment-participation” rate, which reveals the percentage of the population that is currently in the workforce, has fallen to 64 percent. Even based on the “official” unemployment rate, just to get back to the unemployment level of 4.6 percent that we had in 2007, the U.S. needs to create 10 million new jobs. But just one day, January 27, 2010, several companies announced new cuts of more than 60,000 jobs. 9.
Millions of Americans are reaching a point where the unemployment benefits they have been living on are coming to an end. Over six million are now unemployed for over six months. A record 20 million Americans qualified for unemployment insurance benefits
Most economists believe the unemployment rate will remain high for the foreseeable future.
Working More for Less:
Due to the fact that we now have a record high six people for every one job opening, companies have been able to further increase the work load on their remaining employees. They have been able to increase the amount of hours Americans are working, reduce wages and drastically cut back on benefits. In the third quarter of 2009, average worker productivity increased by an annualized rate of 9.5 percent, at the same time unit labor cost decreased by 5.2 percent. This has led to record profits for many companies. Of the 220 companies in the S&P 500 which have reported fourth-quarter results thus far, 78 percent of them had “better-than-expected profits” with earnings 17 percent above expectations, “the highest for any quarter since Thomson Reuters began tracking data.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median wage was only $32,390 per year in 2008, and median household income fell by 3.6 percent while the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent. With the unemployment rate now at 10 percent, median income has been falling at a 5 percent rate and is expected to continue its decline. Not surprisingly, Americans’ job satisfaction level is now at an all-time low.
There are at least 15 million workers who now live in poverty. $32,390 a year is not going to get you far in today’s economy, and half of the country is making less than that. This is why many Americans are now forced to work two jobs to provide for their family to hopefully make ends meet. 11
The mainstream news media never piece the figures together to show you the whole devastating picture, and they rarely show you all the immense individual suffering behind them.
Anyone who has had to put off medical care, or who couldn’t get medical care for one of their family members due to financial circumstances, can tell you about the psychological toll that is on top of the physical suffering. 12.
There are now well over 150 million Americans who feel stress over these things on a consistent basis. Over 60 percent Americans now live paycheck to paycheck. 13.
- Mail Online April 2, 2013 www.dailymail.co.UK/
- Tara Parker-Pope June, 2009 well.blogs.nytimes.com/…/medicalbill cause more bankruptcies.
- www.nytimes.com/…/business/…/recoveringfrom a crash-to-make-a-sec… May 7, 2009.
- www.bloomberg.com/apps/newsnews?pid=newsarchivesand sid… August 5, 2009.
- www.stormfront.orgFebruary 14, 2009.
- www.nytimes,com/…/us/us-prison population on-decline-reflecting-new-appr… July 25, 2013; en-wikipedia-org-wiki-incarceration-in-the united_states.
- Trim Tales Fearless Forecast: US Payrolls globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/…trim-tales-fearless-forecast-us-paFebruary 1, 2012.
- www.washingtonpost.com/…/unemploymentbenefits-are-vanishing-faster-t... August 22, 2011.
- www.nytimes.com/…/workers-wages-chasing-corporate-prophets-off-the-cAugust 5, 2011.
- www.huffingtonpost.com/…/usincomes-falling-as-optimism-reaches- October 20, 2011.