Vermonters are better educated and better off than the average American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but the middle class is being squeezed, according to a new report by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. The percentage of Vermonters living below the poverty rate increased more than 20 percent since President Bush took office. "In America today the middle class continues to shrink with millions of working families struggling to keep their heads above water," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Congress must finally summon the courage to stand up to the wealthy and powerful, rescind the tax breaks President Bush provided for the upper 1 percent and adequately fund the needs of our children, seniors, veterans and the disappearing middle class."
- The number of Vermonters living in poverty rose by 22 percent since President Bush took office.
- The number of uninsured increase by 25 percent from 2000 to 2005.
- The price of gasoline in Vermont increased by $2,578 a year since 2000, far above the national figure.
According to the Vermont Housing Finance Agency:
- Sixty-seven percent of all households in Vermont cannot afford the median priced home in Vermont which now costs $197,000, up 97 percent since 1996.
- Fifty-nine percent of Vermont workers -- that's 163,000 people -- make less than $15.34 per hour - the wage needed in order to afford an average two-bedroom apartment.
- About 4,000 Vermonters are homeless each year, including 1,000 children.
- There is a shortage of 21,000 affordable housing rental units in Vermont.
- The median annual family income in Vermont was $57,170, compared with $55,832 nationally. (rank: 19th)
- More than 11 percent of Vermonters live below the poverty line. More than 60, 000 Vermont households subsist on less than $25,000 in income and benefits.
- More than 80 percent of Vermonters over age 16 participate in the workforce.
- The median age was just over 40 years old, compared to 36 for the country as a whole.
- Vermont had fewer preschoolers than any other state for its population, only 5.3 percent
- More than 89 percent of people 25 and older had high school diplomas, compared to 84.2 percent nationwide.
- More than 32 percent of people 25 and older had bachelor's degrees, compared to 27.2 percent nationwide.
- More than 91,000 Vermonters, or 16.0 percent, were disabled compared to 14.9 percent nationwide.
- There are 57, 633 civilian veterans in Vermont, 12.3 percent of the population.
- There were 16, 939 households that had no access to motor vehicles.
- More than 10 million seniors live alone in the United States, including 22, 452 in Vermont.