Things aren't getting better yet: the number of Americans living far below the poverty line is growing larger, and increasingly the hardest hit areas are becoming suburbs. Today's census data shows about 1 in 15 U.S. citizens can be classified as the poorest poor, or those who are far below established poverty line of $22,314 for a family of four, the Associated Press reported.
If the headline seems depressingly familiar, it's because we learned in September from Census Data that the number of Americans below the $22,314 poverty line had increased to 46.2 million, which The New York Times relayed as "the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it." Today's newly released Census data finds a similar record high, this time among those families living on only half that amount:
About 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the official poverty level. Those living in deep poverty represent nearly half of the 46.2 million people scraping by below the poverty line. In 2010, the poorest poor meant an income of $5,570 or less for an individual and $11,157 for a family of four.
That 6.7 percent share is the highest in the 35 years that the Census Bureau has maintained such records, surpassing previous highs in 2009 and 1993 of just over 6 percent.