A new poverty index in the U.S. Census found 28% of Hispanics were living in poverty. During the 2012 election, a staggering 71% of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama even though his policies and economy actually increased the poverty rate among Hispanics.
When the poverty index was readjusted to include medical costs and government programs such as food stamp and housing, the poverty rate for Hispanics jumped from 25% to 28%.
According to the Associated Press, the official poverty rate is based on a “a half-century-old government formula” that assumes “the average family spends one-third of its income on food” when food costs now represent about one-seventh of a family’s costs.
In addition, the official formula does not count “other expenses such as out-of-pocket medical care, child care and commuting” and factor non-cash “government aid, such as food stamps and tax credits, when calculating income.”
California and Washington, D.C. led the nation in having the greatest percentage of its residents in poverty and were followed by Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona, and Louisiana.
The Census also found:
- Poverty was disproportionately affecting people 65 and older — about 15.1 percent, or nearly double the 8.7 percent rate calculated under the official formula. They also have higher medical expenses, such as Medicare premiums, deductibles and drug costs, that aren’t factored into the official rate.
- Working-age adults ages 18-64 saw an increase in poverty from 13.7 percent to 15.5 percent, due mostly to commuting and child care costs.
- Declines in poverty for children, from 22.3 percent under the official formula to 18.1 percent. Still, they remained the age group most likely to be economically struggling by any measure.