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US poverty rate stands at 15.1%

world Updated: Sep 15, 2011 01:05 IST
Michael A Fletcher
Michael A Fletcher
Hindustan Times
Michael A Fletcher

United States’ poverty rate spiked to 15.1% in 2010, the highest level since 1993, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, providing vivid new evidence about the country’s inability to escape the lingering effects of the recession.

About 46.2 million Americans lived in poverty last year, marking an increase of 2.6 million over 2009 and the fourth consecutive annual increase in poverty.

The total number of people living below the poverty line — which in 2010 was set at an income of $22,314 for a family of four — is now at the highest level in the 52 years the statistic has been collected. The continued rise in poverty was just the latest manifestation of a troubled economy that has left 14 million Americans out of work and caused unemployment to hover above 9% for 25 of the past 27 months.

“Income down, poverty up, health insurance coverage down or flat,” said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The news on economic well-being in the US is not good.”

The news was particularly bad for blacks, Hispanics, children and women.

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