US Poverty Rate Hits Record 14.3%

One in 7 fall within guidelines; highest since at least '65
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2010 9:50 AM CDT
US Poverty Rate Hits Record 14.3%
Travis Warner, left, Annette Lee, and Lisa Tanner hold signs at a protest against Sen. Jim Bunning's stand on extending unemployment benefits in Louisville, Ky. Tuesday, March 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Tyler Bissmeyer)

The ranks of the working-age poor climbed to the highest level since the 1960s as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty. The overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3%, or 43.6 million people, the Census Bureau said in its annual report on the economic well-being of US households.

The statistics cover President Obama's first year in office, when unemployment climbed to 10% in the months after the financial meltdown. The median household income was $49,777. The poverty rate increased from 13.2%, or 39.8 million people, in 2008. Broken down by state, Mississippi had the highest share of poor people, at 23.1%, according to rough calculations by the Census Bureau. It was followed by Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Georgia. On the other end of the scale, New Hampshire had the lowest share, at 7.8%. Click here for more recession depression. (More recession depression stories.)

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