NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Poverty Still on Rise in United States

September 14, 2011

The number of people in the U.S. living in poverty in 2010 rose for the fourth year in a row, representing the largest number of Americans in poverty in the 52 years since such estimates have been published by the U.S. Census Bureau, says CBS News.

  • According to the Census Bureau report, 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009.
  • The nation's official poverty rate increased for the third year in a row -- 15.1 percent in 2010, up from 14.3 percent in 2009.
  • Real median household income in the United States also fell in 2010, to $49,445 (a 2.3 percent drop from 2009).

Among the other findings:

  • Households in the Midwest, South and West experienced declines in real median income between 2009 and 2010, while median household income in the Northeast was not statistically significant.
  • In 2010, the number of families living in poverty was 9.2 million, up from 8.8 million in 2009.
  • Since 2007 -- when the 2007-2009 recession began -- the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percentage points.
  • Although the 2010 rate is 7.3 percentage points lower than in 1959 when the rate was first estimated, it is its highest since 1993.

Source: David Morgan, "Poverty Continues to Rise in U.S., Now 15.1%," CBS News, September 13, 2011.  "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010," U.S. Census Bureau, September 2011.

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