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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

U.S. Poverty Rates Increase

Poverty rates in the U.S. are at the highest they've been since 1993.

Americans are continuing to feel the effects of the U.S.’s struggling economy. The newest report from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that the number of people living below the poverty line has increased for the fourth year in a row.

In 2010, the number of impoverished people in America rose to 15 percent, which is 46.2 million people according to the Census report. This is the higest rate it's been since 1993. This is an increase from 14.3 percent in 2009 and 11.3 percent in 2000.

Seth Kurzban, Professor of Social Work said that there may be more people living under the poverty level than reported.

"The number is a little misleading," said Kurzban. "Because maybe there's the number sort of at the edge of poverty that get lifted out of poverty by programs like food stamps or through social security, or through medicare. So it's an even larger number."

According to a CNN report, in order to meet the poverty line a family of four must make exactly $22,314 a year and an individual has to make $11,139.

In addition, the Census Bureau reported that the number of people without healthcare increased to 49.9 million from 49 million in 2009.

Because of the economic housing crisis, credit problems were fueled as well as a lack of healthcare, said Kurzban.

"Many Americans don't have money to go out and purchase things," said Kurzban. "So the economy kind of stalled and with the stalled economy those who are already on  the margins  who can't afford whatever basic necessities... are going to forgo things like health insurance."

The survey showed that black and Hispanics had a much higher poverty rate, than other races in the U.S., at 27.4 percent and 26.6 percent.


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