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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Last updated on: September 14, 2011 10:23 IST

Image: Regional coordinator Charles Evans (4th L) picks up children from school to take them to an after-school program at South Los Angeles Learning Center in Los Angeles.
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters Lalit K Jha in Washington

One in six Americans are now living below poverty line, the Census Bureau said in a report, reflecting the adverse impact of economic crisis on common man.

"The nation's official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 per cent, up from 14.3 per cent in 2009 - the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate," Census Bureau said in its report.

"There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 - the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published," it said.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: A pedestrian walks by graffiti on a downtown street in Detroit, Michigan.
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These findings are contained in the report 'Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010.'

The government defines the poverty line as income of $22,314 (about Rs 10 lakh) a year for a family of four and $11,139 (about Rs 5 lakh) for individual.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: A two-year-old lies in the bedroom of the apartment their family is being evicted from, in Los Angeles.
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Census Bureau said, the number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010, while the percentage without coverage - 16.3 per cent - was not statistically different from the rate in 2009.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: A homeless man begs for money in downtown Los Angeles.
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 per cent and is 7.1 per cent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999.

The percentages are not statistically different from each another, the Census Bureau said.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: Jayla waits for her tutor to arrive at the shelter where she lives in Los Angeles.
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The poverty rate increased for children younger than 18 (from 20.7 per cent in 2009 to 22.0 per cent in 2010) and people 18 to 64 (from 12.9 per cent in 2009 to 13.7 per cent in 2010), while it was not statistically different for people 65 and older (9.0 per cent), it said.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: A homeless tent city in Sacramento, California.
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Similar to the patterns observed for the poverty rate in 2010, the number of people in poverty increased for children younger than 18 (15.5 million in 2009 to 16.4 million in 2010) and people 18 to 64 (24.7 million in 2009 to 26.3 million in 2010) and was not statistically different for people 65 and older (3.5 million), the Census Bureau said.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: George Thompson fills a weekly share for a client at the food pantry in Freedom, New Hampshire.
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Among race groups, real median income declined for white and black households between 2009 and 2010, while changes for Asian and Hispanic-origin households were not statistically different.

Real median income for each race and Hispanic-origin group has not yet recovered to the pre-2001 recession all-time highs, the report said.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

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The Census Bureau said there has been considerable impact of the economic crisis on the people here.

Median household income declined the first full year following the December 2007 to June 2009 recession, as well as in the first full year following three other recessions (March 2001 to November 2001, January 1980 to July 1980 and December 1969 to November 1970).

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: A child waits in line with her mother to receive goods from the Feed The Children relief organisation in New York.
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However, household income increased the first full year following the November 1973 to March 1975 recession, and the changes following the July 1990 to March 1991 and July 1981 to November 1982 recessions were not statistically significant, it said.

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One in six Americans living below poverty line: Census

Image: A homeless man sits on a bench with a cup of chili that he received from the Salvation Army in Washington.
Photographs: Jim Young/Reuters

The poverty rate and the number of people in poverty increased in the first calendar year following the end of the last three recessions.

For the recessions that ended in 1961 and 1975, the poverty rate decreased in the next full calendar year, it said.

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