Many households are facing a sharp drop in living standards, according to the Census Bureau. Median household income declined 3.6% in 2008 to $50,303 a year, the sharpest year-on-year decrease in 40 years. The poverty rate increased to 13.2%, the highest since 1997. The number of people without health insurance increased 700,000 last year. "There's a lot of pain for the average family," said Bruce Meyer, an economist at the University of Chicago.