Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Record: 49 Million Americans in Poverty

A new U.S. Census Bureau report released yesterday revealed that the number of Americans in poverty hit a record 49 million in 2010, or 16 percent. The new data showed poverty rates for the elderly, Asians and Hispanics higher than previously known. The figures were calculated by the Census Bureau under a broad new measure intended to supplement the official standard with a fuller picture of poverty in the United States. Results contrast with official poverty data, released in September, that put the number of poor Americans at 46.2 million.

The Census Bureau, with assistance from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and in consultation with other appropriate agencies and outside experts, introduces research on a new measure of poverty to complement the official measure, which has been in use since the 1960s. The official measure will continue to be produced every year and be used to assess eligibility for government programs and determine funding distribution. The supplemental poverty measure, on the other hand, is intended to better reflect contemporary social and economic realities and government policy effects and thus provide a further understanding of economic conditions and trends. This report presents estimates of the prevalence of poverty at the national level in 2010 -- overall and for selected demographic groups -- for both the official and supplemental measures.

For the Reuters story about the new poverty data, click here.

KJ

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