Katrina & Beyond

Race, Poverty and Katrina

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New Orleans residents wait in line to be evacuated from the Convention Center area in New Orleans, S

New Orleans residents wait in line to be evacuated from the Convention Center area in New Orleans, Sept. 3. Reuters hide caption

toggle caption Reuters

The official poverty rate in 2004 was 12.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2003.


In 2004, 37 million people were in poverty, up 1.1 million from 2003.


Poverty rates remained unchanged for blacks (24.7 percent) and Hispanics (21.9 percent), rose for non-Hispanic whites (8.6 percent in 2004, up from 8.2 percent in 2003), and decreased for Asians (9.8 percent in 2004, down from 11.8 percent in 2003).


Source: U.S. Census Bureau: 'Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004'

According to a poll taken a week after the hurricane by the Pew Research Center, two thirds of African Americans said they thought that the government would have reacted faster had most of the storm victims been white. Among whites, 77 percent said the race of the victims made no difference.

A live studio audience joins in a conversation with leading thinkers on the lessons Hurricane Katrina offers, about race and class in American society.


Juan Williams, NPR senior correspondent

John McWhorter, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

Tricia Rose, professor of American Studies at UC Santa Cruz

David Shipler, author of The Working Poor: Invisible in America

Douglas Besharov, scholar in Social Welfare Studies at the American Enterprise Institute



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