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Nevada Makes Slow Progress on Poverty, Income Levels

New Census Bureau figures show working Nevadans have a little more money in their pockets, but household income grew more slowly here than nationally. (cohdra/Morguefile)
New Census Bureau figures show working Nevadans have a little more money in their pockets, but household income grew more slowly here than nationally. (cohdra/Morguefile)
September 16, 2016

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevadans are better off than they were just a few years ago, according to new census data, but the state still lags behind the country as a whole in terms of economic recovery. The good news is, there was a decline in poverty, an increase in household income, and an increase in health insurance coverage in 2015. And on a national level, that's the first time all three have improved together, since 1999.

Jon Sasser, the statewide advocacy coordinator for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, said more than 200,000 Nevadans gained health coverage from 2013 to 2015, largely as a result of Medicaid expansion.

"Nevada is still far behind other states," he said. "However, Nevada has made the second-greatest progress of any state in the last two years. We've dropped from second-worst in the country and now, we have passed another five states."

The Census Bureau also reports that median household income in the U.S. went up almost four percent last year, to more than $55,000, but in Nevada, the increase was less than two percent. And nationally, the poverty rate dropped .8 percent, but only .6 percent in Nevada.

Sasser said several ideas to improve the plight of working people have gained bipartisan support.

"Both President Obama and Speaker Ryan are proposing almost identical improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would benefit some 107,000 Nevadans," he added.

In addition, both of the two major-party presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have called for sizeable increases in child-care subsidies, which Sasser agrees would greatly help low-income workers.

The full census data can be read here.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV