Obama unveils plan to help young American Indians

In this June 13, 2014 file photo President Barack Obama and Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe David Archambault II, left, watch dancers during a visit to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, N.D. Obama on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 announced an initiative to improve conditions and opportunities for American Indian youth, more than one-third of whom live in poverty. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

In this June 13, 2014 file photo President Barack Obama and Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe David Archambault II, left, watch dancers during a visit to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, N.D. Obama on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 announced an initiative to improve conditions and opportunities for American Indian youth, more than one-third of whom live in poverty. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

 

By Blake Nicholson, AP

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — President Barack Obama announced an initiative Wednesday aimed at improving conditions and opportunities for American Indian youth, more than a third of whom live in poverty.

Obama’s Generation Indigenous initiative calls for programs focused on better preparing young American Indians for college and careers, and developing leadership skills through the Department of Education and the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth. Members of the president’s staff also plan to visit reservations next year.

The White House did not provide a cost estimate for the initiative, but a spokeswoman said the administration plans to fund it with existing money and the help of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

The announcement, made as part of the White House Tribal Nations Conference that Obama is hosting on Wednesday, comes five months after the president and his wife visited the impoverished Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Dakotas.

The 3,600-square-mile reservation is home to about 8,500 people, many of whom live in run-down homes, and where the unemployment rate runs as high as 20 percent. The suicide rate for American Indians aged 15 to 24 is more than twice the national rate.

Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the president and first lady “were deeply moved” after listening to children’s stories about challenges they faced on the reservation, such as depression and alcohol abuse. Vice President Joe Biden said in a morning appearance before the conference that for Obama, helping Indian youth is “something that he came back from his June visit fired up about doing something about.”

Wednesday’s conference involves leaders from 566 federally recognized tribal nations, along with 36 White House Youth Ambassadors chosen from around the country through an essay contest.

“People who grow up in a poverty culture sometimes need guidance, need values, need a little bit of structure,” said Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney and Native American rights activist from Standing Rock who is attending the conference.

“Through some of the things the administration is doing, it looks like they’re trying to do that,” he said. “Youth — they just need the right tools, and maybe they can empower themselves.”

The White House also released a report Wednesday acknowledging failures in federal policy and highlighting the need for more tribal help in the areas of economic development, health and education. Slightly more than two-thirds of Native youth graduate from high school, according to the 2014 Native Youth Report.

One of the report’s recommendations is to strengthen tribal control of the education system on reservations. Officials are working to overhaul the Bureau of Indian Education, which is responsible for educating 48,000 Indian students in 23 states, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

Jewell estimated it would cost more than $1 billion to fix schools with crumbling infrastructures. Officials are pursuing money through Congress, existing government programs and philanthropic organizations.

“We have to get creative,” Jewell said.

Fewer hungry humans — but still too many

Food aid in Tajikistan    Feed My Starving Children

Food aid in Tajikistan Feed My Starving Children

 

By Nathanael Johnson, Grist

 

Which country has the highest percentage of hungry people? I’ll put the answer at the bottom. (Hint: it’s not located in Africa.)

The United Nations’ annual report on hunger has arrived bearing sobering factoids like this one, along with some remarkably good news: There are now 100 million fewer chronically hungry people than there were 10 years ago.

The improvements vary dramatically. In southeast Asia, 30 percent of people were undernourished in 1992; now it’s down to 10 percent, a stunning accomplishment. But in the Middle East (here labeled western Asia), the percentage of undernourished people has actually gone up. Worldwide, 11 percent of people still go through most of their lives hungry.

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 4.08.41 PM

 

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says that the Millennium Development Goals on hunger are within reach “if appropriate and immediate efforts are stepped up.”

What form should those efforts take? The UN urges everyone to remember that hunger is a fundamentally political problem:

Lack of food, as we’ve said, is not the problem. The world produces enough food for everyone to be properly nourished and lead a healthy and productive life. Hunger exists because of poverty, natural disasters, earthquakes, floods and droughts. Women are particularly affected. In many countries they do most of the farming, but do not have the same access as men to training, credit or land.

Hunger exists because of conflict and war, which destroy the chance to earn a decent living. It exists because poor people don’t have access to land to grow viable crops or keep livestock, or to steady work that would give them an income to buy food. It exists because people sometimes use natural resources in ways that are not sustainable. It exists because there is not enough investment in the rural sector in many countries to support agricultural development. Hunger exists because financial and economic crises affect the poor most of all by reducing or eliminating the sources of income they depend on to survive.

And finally it exists because there is not yet the political will and commitment to make the changes needed to end hunger, once and for all.

But how do you go about fixing those problems and mustering the political will? The new report suggests:

Hunger reduction requires an integrated approach, which would include: public and private investments to raise agricultural productivity; better access to inputs, land, services, technologies and markets; measures to promote rural development; social protection for the most vulnerable, including strengthening their resilience to conflicts and natural disasters; and specific nutrition programmes, especially to address micronutrient deficiencies in mothers and children under five.

In other words, the technical solutions can help with the political solutions and vice versa. This is a bit of a chicken and egg problem: Which do you do first: stop the war, or help farmers grow more food? If people are hungry, perhaps it’s better to send grain rather than soldiers. But if militants grab and sell the grain, we’re back to square one. The answer to the chicken and egg question seems to be: both.

As for the answer to the question I began with: Haiti is the nation with the highest percentage of hungry citizens. An astonishing 52 percent of people there are undernourished.

Low-Wage Workers ‘Movement’ Flexes Its Muscles Nationwide

Employees of the fast-food industry demand $15 minimum wage and better workplace protections as actions expected in 150 cities across the country.

 

Striking fast-food workers in Detroit on Thursday, September 4 are among those nationwide demanding a $15 minimum wage, better workplace protections, and the right to join a union. (Photo: Twitpic)

Striking fast-food workers in Detroit on Thursday, September 4 are among those nationwide demanding a $15 minimum wage, better workplace protections, and the right to join a union. (Photo: Twitpic)

 

By Jon Queally for Common Dreams, September 4, 2014

 

Fast-food workers are out in force nationwide on Thursday as they participate in a day of action designed to highlight the scourge of low-wages and push a series of demands to combat the persistent poverty endured by those who form the backbone of  the profitable multi-billion dollar industry.

Led by organizers at FightFor15—and supported in their call by the Service Employees Union International (SEIU), grassroots organizers, and other workers’ rights groups—the fast-food employees say that singular actions that first started in New York City in 2012 and then spread to other cities have now become a national movement. Pushing for a $15 per hour “living wage” for all workers is the central but not sole demand of the workers and those who back them.

Organizers are expecting worker strikes and solidarity protests in 150 U.S. cities as employees of Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and other chains demand a dramatic increase to the minimum wage, better workplace protections, and the right to organize and join a union.

According to NBC News:

In Kansas City, Missouri, workers are expected to walk out of 60 restaurants. Latoya Caldwell, a Wendy’s worker, is one of dozens of fast food employees in Kansas City who plan to sit down in a city intersection, lock arms and get arrested.

“We’re a movement now,” Caldwell said on Wednesday before starting a shift at Wendy’s. She and several co-workers said that 25 of the more than 30 non-management employees in their restaurant have pledged to strike. “We know this is going to be a long fight, but we’re going to fight it till we win,” said Caldwell, 31, who is raising four children alone on $7.50 an hour and was living in a homeless shelter until earlier this year.

The strikers cite frustration about their continued struggle to survive at the bottom of the labor market even as the broader economic news seems positive. “They say the economy is getting better, but we’re still making $7.50,” said Caldwell. “Nobody should work 40 hours a week and find themselves homeless, without enough money to buy them and their kids food, needing public assistance.”

Early reporting in the day documented actions in Detroit, Chicago, New York, Charlotte, New Orleans and elsewhere.

In Detroit, protesters protesting outside a McDonald’s early on Thursday were arrested after they locked arms and sat down in the street, blocking local traffic.

 

Dozens of people were arrested during a minimum wage protest outside a Detroit McDonald’s. (Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ Newsradio 950)The local CBS news affiliate reports:

 

Kaya Moody, a 20-year-old single mother who works at a different McDonald’s location in Detroit, has taken part in several protests and she admits it hasn’t been an easy sell.

“We always get the ‘Do you really think you deserve $15 an hour as a fast food worker?’ We get that a lot and I just feel like, who doesn’t deserve $15 an hour, you know? It’s a living wage. No one can survive off of $8.15 an hour, it’s almost impossible,” Moody told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.

The protests have been going on for about two years, but organizers have kept the campaign in the spotlight by switching their tactics every few months. In the past, supporters have showed up at a McDonald’s shareholder meeting and held strikes. The idea of civil disobedience arose in July when 1,300 workers held a convention in Chicago.

Kendall Fells, an organizing director for Fast Food Forward, said workers in a couple of dozen cities were trained to peacefully engage in civil disobedience ahead of the planned protests.

Dispatches and photos from other actions are being shared on Twitter under the #StrikeFastFood hashtag:

#StrikeFastFood Tweets

US Ambassador Keith Harper: Violence Against Indigenous Women ‘Global Scourge’

Gale Courey Toensing, Indian Country Today

 

Describing violence against indigenous women and girls as a “global scourge,” Keith Harper, the United States ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council, called on the world peace organization to use everything in its toolbox to address the problem and urged the upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to raise awareness of it throughout the U.N. system.

“As we prepare for the upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, we express great concern that indigenous women and girls often suffer multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and poverty that increase their vulnerability to all forms of violence. We also stress the need to seriously address the high and disproportionate rates of violence, which takes many forms, against indigenous women and girls worldwide,” Harper said on Tuesday (June 24) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. ”Indigenous women and girls have the same human rights and fundamental freedoms as everyone else, and a common recognition of those rights must underpin efforts to address violence against indigenous women and girls.

The remarks were delivered in a Joint Statement on Eliminating Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls on behalf of 35 of the council’s 47 member states – Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Congo, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The statement was not a U.S. statement, but Harper and his team led the effort, working with the 35 different countries to come up with a statement that all of them agreed on, a staff member at the U.S. Mission said. Since the U.S. led the process, the U.S. ambassador read the statement before the council, the staff member said.

One of the key elements to stopping violence against indigenous women and girls is providing access to justice systems, Harper said. “Improving access to justice and empowering Indigenous Peoples are critical to this effort,” he said. Given that access, Indigenous Peoples themselves may well be in the best position to combat violence against indigenous women and girls, Harper noted. “They are closer and better able to address the issue when provided with tools and the legal capability to stop the violence. We will strive to, and encourage other states to, where appropriate, enable and empower Indigenous Peoples to better address these issues themselves by providing resources, adopting legislation and policies, and taking other necessary steps in an effort to stop the cycle of violence that affects them,” he said. He also stressed the need for coordination and dialogue between state and indigenous justice institutions to help improve indigenous women and girls’ access to justice and bolster awareness campaigns, including ones directed at men and boys.

Harper suggested a series of actions necessary to help end “the global scourge of violence against indigenous women and girls,” including comprehensive support services for survivors and improved data collection to determine the scope of the problem. “It will demand intensified measures to provide accountability for perpetrators and redoubled efforts to prevent abuse,” he said. He emphasized the need to respect and promote reproductive rights. “[T]he right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, and access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services must be integral to our efforts to end violence against indigenous women and girls,” Harper said.

The issue of violence against indigenous women and girls needs more attention, Harper said, encouraging “the relevant UN mechanisms” – such as the Commission on Women’s Rights and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – to use the UN’s existing tools more effectively to prevent and address the problem. He said the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be held in New York in September should highlight the problem, spread awareness of it, and respond to it throughout the U.N. system. “The meaningful participation of indigenous representatives in the World Conference and its preparatory process will be essential in this regard,” Harper said.

Harper, a Cherokee Nation citizen, is the first citizen of a federally-recognized tribe to become an U.S. ambassador. He is new on the job: The Senate voted 52 – 42 on his confirmation June 3 and seven days later he hit the ground running as the 26th regular three week session of the Human Rights Council opened in Geneva on June 10.

RELATED: Keith Harper, Cherokee Nation Citizen, Confirmed as Ambassador

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/06/24/what-us-ambassador-keith-harper-calling-global-scourge-155459?page=0%2C1

 

The Myth Of The Casino Cash Cow For Native Americans

Contrary to stereotypes about reservation gambling profits, most Native Americans are struggling.

The Fond-Du-Luth Casino in Duluth, Minnesota. (Photo/Michael Hicks via Flickr)

The Fond-Du-Luth Casino in Duluth, Minnesota. (Photo/Michael Hicks via Flickr)

From October 23, 2013 by Katie Lentsch, Mint Press News

Today’s casinos of flashing lights and slot machines in smoke-filled rooms attract high rollers and bad losers. Many see casinos as a lucrative business for Native American reservations — but does this myth of money-making match reality?

Twenty-five percent of the U.S. population aged 21 and over visited a casino and participated in gambling in 2010. In that year alone, U.S. casinos enjoyed revenues of $34.6 billion, according to the American Gaming Association.

It’s a common assumption that the gaming industry is a cash cow for Native Americans, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that as part of tribal sovereignty, state tax and regulatory laws do not necessarily apply to Native Americans living on reservations.

Tribal sovereignty refers to tribes’ right to govern themselves, define their own membership, manage property, and regulate tribal business and relations while recognizing a government-to-government relationship with states and the federal government. But despite tribes’ independence and exemptions, the Native American population as a whole comprises the minority living with the largest disparities in health, education and income in the United States.

The unemployment rate on some reservations can reach as high as 75 percent, with nearly 10 percent of all Native families being homeless. For some of those families who do have homes, they may lack electricity or running water, Liberation news reports.

Gaming has helped raise tribal communities out of poverty by providing funds for housing, schools, health care and education, as well as stable jobs for community members, but according to the Native American Rights Fund, of the estimated 560 federally recognized American Indian nations, only 224 are involved in gaming. Tribes who are geographically located on rural, unpopulated land may never take part in the industry, while those who reside near major urban areas benefit the most from gaming operations.

 

Can tribal sovereignty exist within a city?

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa not only has a casino on its reservation in northern Minnesota, but one that is located 20 miles to the east in downtown Duluth. With the “Fond-du-Luth” casino establishment located outside of the reservation, issues pertaining to tribal sovereignty and gaming revenues are currently being disputed by city leaders.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that because Fond-du-Luth is outside the reservation, a 1994 agreement was enacted, stating that the casino would pay a 19 percent “rent” of its gross income for 25 years and an unspecified rate for the following 25 years to the city in exchange for services. This provided Duluth with around $6 million income annually from the Fond du Lac band, but in 2009, the band stopped paying.

Karen Diver, chairwoman of the Fond du Lac band, said payments were halted when it began questioning the legality of the agreement. After asking the National Indian Gaming Commission to review the 1994 consent agreement, it found the agreement violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which requires tribes to have “sole proprietary interest” for tribal casinos.

The band negotiated a payment-per-services model, covering services like law enforcement and fire protection, but a U.S. District Court judge ruled this month that $10.4 million is owed from the Fond du Lac band’s halted payments from 2009 to 2011, which the band might be able to appeal.

The issues that arose in Duluth were similar to those when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was onboard for a plan to build casinos under the Seneca Nation in Rochester and other areas upstate.

Initially, like Fond-du-Luth, there was discussion of the state government receiving a negotiated piece of the casino’s gross intake, but the sovereignty issue again posed question.

“How could you put a sovereign nation in the middle of your downtown?” said Lovely Warren, Rochester city council president.

Steve Siegel, formerly of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University, told Rochester City Newspaper that most of the time, when a tax-exempt casino is placed on what is claimed to be sovereign land within an urban setting, all of the gain goes to the casino complex.

“Local businesses are devastated because they can’t compete with this massive nontaxable entity,” Siegel said.

 

Native Americans are still Americans

Although the casino institutions themselves are not federally taxed, in 2006 the IRS issued a bulletin stating that individual Native Americans, especially those living outside of a reservation, are still subject to federal income tax every year.

More than seven in ten Native Americans and Alaska Natives now live in metropolitan areas, and 27 percent live in poverty, according to the Census Bureau.

The bulletin states:

“While there are numerous valid treaties between various Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments and the United States government, some of which may contain language providing for narrowly defined tax exemptions, these treaties have limited application to specific tribes … Taxpayers who are affected by such treaty language must be a member of a particular tribe having a treaty and must cite that specific treaty in claiming any exemption. There is no general treaty that is applicable to all Native Americans.”

Even so, many Native American families subject to treaties are still not exempt from taxes. The IGRA has provisions that permit tribes to make per-capita distributions from gaming activities to tribe members and the community. But according to the bulletin, “Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, any distribution of casino gaming proceeds to individual tribe members is also subject to federal income tax.”

Essentially, Native Americans are living in a nation where the majority of its population is struggling to make ends meet. They face taxes and economic strife while trying to support their families. Some may sit more comfortably than others, but the late-night hours from visitors at the slot machines or blackjack tables don’t quite live up to the dream.

Quietly, Indians reshape cities and reservations

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York TimesA mural painted by children at the Little Earth of United Tribes housing complex in Minneapolis.

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
A mural painted by children at the Little Earth of United Tribes housing complex in Minneapolis.

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS

Published: April 13, 2013 in The New york Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Nothing in her upbringing on a remote Indian reservation in northern Minnesota prepared Jean Howard for her introduction to city life during a visit here eight years ago: an outbreak of gunfire, followed by the sight of people scattering.

She watched, confused, before realizing that she should run, too. “I said: ‘I’m not living here. This is crazy,’ ” she recalled.

But not long afterward, Ms. Howard did return, and found a home in Minneapolis. She is part of a continuing and largely unnoticed mass migration of American Indians, whose move to urban centers over the past several decades has fundamentally changed both reservations and cities.

Though they are widely associated with rural life, more than 7 of 10 Indians and Alaska Natives now live in a metropolitan area, according to Census Bureau data released this year, compared with 45 percent in 1970 and 8 percent in 1940.

The trend mirrors the pattern of millions of African-Americans who left the rural South during the Great Migration of the 20th century and moved to cities in the North and West. But while many black migrants found jobs in meatpacking plants, stockyards and automobile factories, American Indians have not had similar success finding work.

“When you look at it as a percentage, the black migration was nothing in comparison to the percentage of Native Americans who have come to urban areas,” said Dr. Philip R. Lee, an assistant secretary for health during the Clinton administration and an emeritus professor of social medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Recent budget figures show that federal money has not followed the migration, with only about 1 percent of spending by the Indian Health Service going to urban programs. Cities, with their own budget problems, are also failing to meet their needs.

One effect of the move toward cities has been a proliferation of Native American street gangs, which mimic and sometimes form partnerships with better-established African-American and Latino gangs, according to the F.B.I. and local law enforcement reports. Last month, a federal jury in Minneapolis convicted several members of the Native Mob, a violent gang, of racketeering and other crimes as part of one of the largest gang prosecutions ever undertaken in Indian Country.

The migration goes to the heart of the question of whether the more than 300 reservations in the United States are an imperative or a hindrance to Native Americans, a debate that dates to the 19th century, when the reservation system was created by the federal government.

Citing generational poverty and other shortcomings in reservations, a federal policy from the 1950s to the 1970s pressured Indian populations to move to cities. Though unpopular on reservations, the effort helped prompt the migration, according to those who have moved to cities in recent years and academics who have studied the trend.

Regardless of where they live, a greater proportion of Indians live in poverty than any other group, at a rate that is nearly double the national average. Census data show that 27 percent of all Native Americans live in poverty, compared with 25.8 percent of African-Americans, who are the next highest group, and 14.3 percent of Americans over all.

Moreover, data show that in a number of metropolitan areas, American Indians have levels of impoverishment that rival some of the nation’s poorest reservations. Denver, Phoenix and Tucson, for instance, have poverty rates for Indians approaching 30 percent. In Chicago, Oklahoma City, Houston and New York — where more Indians live than any other city — about 25 percent live in poverty.

Even worse off are those living in Rapid City, S.D., where the poverty level stands at more than 50 percent, and here in Minneapolis, where more than 45 percent live in poverty.

“Our population has dealt with all these problems in the past,” said Jay Bad Heart Bull, the president and chief operating officer of the Native American Community Development Institute, a social services agency in Minneapolis. “But it’s easier to get lost in the city. It’s easier to disappear.”

Despite the rampant poverty, many view Minneapolis as a symbol of progress. The city’s Indian population, about 2 percent of the total, is more integrated than in most other metropolitan areas, and there are social services and legal and job training programs specifically focused on them.

The city has a Native American City Council member, Robert Lilligren; a Native American state representative, Susan Allen; and a police chief, Janee Harteau, who is part Indian. But city life has brought with it familiar social ills like alcoholism and high unemployment, along with less familiar problems, including racism, heroin use and aggressive street gangs.

Continue reading here.

Census Bureau reports American Indian and Alaska Native poverty rates

CB13-29
Contact:  Melanie Deal
Public Information Office
301-763-3030

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 20, 2013 – The poverty rate for American Indians and Alaska Natives in Rapid City, S.D. (50.9 percent) was around three times the rate in Anchorage, Alaska (16.6 percent) and about 30 percent or greater in five other cities most populated by this group (Gallup, N.M.; Minneapolis; Rapid City, S.D.; Shiprock, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Zuni Pueblo, N.M.), according to American Community Survey data collected from 2007 to 2011 by the U.S. Census Bureau. See figure.cb13-29_chart

Nine states had poverty rates of about 30 percent or more for American Indians and Alaska Natives (Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah).

“With the American Community Survey, we can look at the poverty rates for even the smallest race and Hispanic-origin groups,” said Suzanne Macartney, an analyst in the Census Bureau’s Poverty Statistics Branch.

These figures come from Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 2007-2011, an American Community Survey brief that presents poverty rates by race and Hispanic origin for the United States, each state and the District of Columbia. For the nation and each state, poverty rates are summarized for the major race groups. For the nation, each state and selected places, poverty rates are summarized for American Indians and Alaska Natives, detailed Asian groups with populations of 750,000 or more, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander groups with populations of 25,000 or more and Hispanic-origin groups with populations of 1 million or more.

Two race groups had poverty rates more than 10 percentage points higher than the national rate of 14.3 percent: American Indian and Alaska Native (27.0 percent) and black or African- American (25.8 percent). Rates were above the overall national average for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (17.6 percent), while poverty rates for people identified as white (11.6 percent) or Asian (11.7 percent) were lower than the overall poverty rate. Poverty rates for whites and Asians were not statistically different from each other. The Hispanic population had a poverty rate of 23.2 percent, about nine percentage points higher than the overall U.S. rate.

Other highlights:

  • According to the 2007-2011 American Community Survey, 42.7 million people in the United States, or 14.3 percent, had income below the poverty level.
  • For the Asian population, poverty rates were higher for Vietnamese (14.7 percent) and Koreans (15.0 percent) and lower for Filipinos (5.8 percent). Poverty rates for Vietnamese and Koreans were not statistically different from each other.
  • For Asians, nine states had poverty rates below 10 percent (Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina).
  • Among Hispanics, national poverty rates ranged from a low of 16.2 percent for Cubans to a high of 26.3 percent for Dominicans.

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from town and city planners to retailers and homebuilders. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation’s people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said such information would allow Congress to “adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community,” and over the decades allow America “an opportunity of marking the progress of the society.”

 Source: U.S. Census Bureau