Long Island's poverty and median household income rates for 2012 remained largely unchanged from the year before, mirroring a national trend, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.
The year-over-year changes for Nassau and Suffolk counties were not statistically significant. But the region's five-year statistical profile, from 2008 through 2012, showed meaningful income declines and poverty rate increases, showing the toll of the recession, which officially ran from December 2007 through June 2009.
Specific findings include:
Nassau's 2012 poverty rate was estimated at 6.6 percent, down from 6.8 percent in 2011, and Suffolk's 2012 rate was 6.9 percent, up from 6.4 percent the prior year.
Nassau's 2012 median household income of $93,214 was not statistically different from the $93,280 in 2011. Suffolk's median household income for 2012 was $86,334, up slightly from $85,676, again deemed not statistically significant.
In 2008, the poverty rate was 4.8 percent in Nassau and 5.7 percent in Suffolk. Nassau's median household income that year was $100,196 and Suffolk's was $91,521.
The data come from the bureau's 2012 American Community Survey's one-year estimates that cover areas with populations of 65,000 or more. Today's release follows a bureau report earlier this week of the nation's poverty, income and health insurance coverage rates.
The national data showed no change in the country's 2012 poverty rate -- 15 percent -- from the previous year. The nation's median household income held steady, too, at $51,017.
There was a dip in the nation's percentage of people without health insurance, which dropped from 15.7 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent in 2012.
The percentage of those uninsured in Nassau in 2012 was 8.8 percent, nearly the same as 2011's 8.7 percent. In Suffolk, that percentage rose slightly -- to 10.1 percent in 2012, from 9.8 percent in 2011 -- but was deemed not statistically significant.
John Imhoff, Nassau's social services commissioner, said in a statement that the county saw "notable" increases in caseloads of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, "which reflect the ongoing economic climate."
In Suffolk, Medicaid and food stamp cases also increased from 2011 to 2012, said John F. O'Neill, the county's acting social services commissioner.
"The pace of job growth is still not strong, and the types of jobs being added are in lower-paying jobs versus the higher-paying jobs lost during the Great Recession," O'Neill said. He added that food stamp cases "are still expected to grow into the foreseeable future, until higher-paying jobs return."
Crystal Allen, 26, a single mother with a 5-year-old son, Alijah, works as a store clerk. She began receiving food stamps a couple of months ago, she said, after her work hours were reduced from five days a week last summer, to one or two days a week now.
"They're cutting back on work hours for everybody in general," she said.
Even when she was working full time, earning $325 every two weeks, "it was hard to survive . . . but I met everything," Allen said of her obligations. Now, "I am not able to meet my needs at all."
She and her son, who have health insurance through Medicaid, live with her mother in Huntington.
"I can't afford to live on my own," Allen said. "If it wasn't for my mother, me and my son wouldn't have anything."