New Census Figures Show Local Effects of Recession

The New Census report covers a number of economic indicators from unemployment to health insurance statistics.

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Photo: WFIU

Local economic experts says students and young workers may have contributed to a decline in median household incomes.

Newly released US Census Bureau figures show a slow decline in median household incomes in Monroe County.  According to the report,  the average household brought in about 34-and a half thousand dollars in 2009…  as compared to 39-thousand in 2008 and more than 40-thousand in 2006.  Indiana Business Research Center demographer Matt Kinghorn says much of this decline is attributable to younger employees just entering the workforce.

“This something happening…  maybe driven by some of our student population or some of our younger workers and whatnot.”  Kinghorn said. “And maybe the recession hasn’t had quite the impact on families, because if you look at that family income…  there hasn’t…  there’s really no statistical change in the level of family income.”

The study also found that about 14-percent of county residents carried no health insurance… an increase of about 3-percent over 2008.  The number of people reporting incomes below the poverty level has gradually decreased by about 3-and-a half percent since 2006… to end at about 23-percent.  Bloomington Economic Development Corporation Director Ron Walker says these numbers may reflect an increase in area underemployment.

“While our unemployment rate was relatively low… obviously higher now…  but it’s still relatively low compared to a lot of communities in the country.” Walker said.  “It’s believed we have a number of people who are underemployed.”

Statewide, average household incomes declined by about 2-thousand dollars between 2008 and 2009… to end at 45-and a half thousand dollars.  More than 14-percent of Hoosiers had no form of health insurance in 2009.  The same percentage of people reported incomes below the poverty line.

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