WASHINGTON — The nation's poverty rate, closely tracking the economy, dropped to 14% last year, meaning that 33.1 million Americans are officially considered poor, the Census Bureau said today.
A Census Bureau report showed that the poverty rate was down 0.4 percentage points from 1984, but officials said the change was not significant.
Most of the improvement in the poverty rate came among blacks, where the figure dropped from 33.8% in 1984 to 31.3% in 1985. A total of 8.9 million blacks were in poverty in 1985, contrasted with 9.5 million in 1984.
According to the report, neither the number of whites in poverty--22.9 million--nor their poverty rate--11.4%--changed.
The poverty rate among children under 18--20.5%--also was virtually unchanged from 1984.
'It's the Right Trend'
Gordon Green, acting chief of the Census Bureau's population division, cautioned that "it's hard to look at just a one-year change and make a big deal out of it. Still, it's the right trend." He noted that the figure is the second annual decrease in the poverty rate.