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November 7, 2006 at 12:29 am #1456
Poverty USA: The State of
Poverty in America
For the fourth consecutive year, the poverty rate and the number of Americans living in poverty both rose from the prior years. Since 2000, the number of poor Americans has grown by more than 6 million. The official poverty rate in 2004 (the most current year for which figures are available) was 12.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2003. Total Americans below the official poverty thresholds numbered 37 million, a figure 1.1 million higher than the 35.9 million in poverty in 2003. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004)
On average, more than one out of every three Americans – 37 percent of all people in the United States – are officially classified as living in poverty at least 2 months out of the year. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004)
The number of Americans living in severe poverty – with incomes below half of the poverty line – remained the same at 15.6 million. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004)
Since 1999, the number of poor Americans suffering from “food insecurity” and hunger has increased by 3.9 million – 2.8 million adults and more than one million children. In 2002, 34.9 million people lived in households experiencing food insecurity – that is, not enough food for basic nourishment – compared to 33.6 million in 2001 and 31 million in 1999. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States, 2002, October 2003.)
The American Midwest and South saw the greatest numbers of people entering poverty in 2004; the number in the Midwest rose from 6.9 million to 7.5 million, while the South rose from 14 to 14.5 million people. Yet the two regions stand at the opposite ends of the percentage of people living in poverty for all regions in America. In the Midwest and Northeast, 11.6 percent of all people live in poverty, compared to 12.6 percent for the West, and 14.1 for the South ‚Äì the highest of all. (U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004)
Nine out of ten Americans believe the federal government has a responsibility to alleviate poverty. A strong majority believes that government should do more, not less, to help people move from welfare to work by providing skills needed to be self-sufficient. (Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, January 2002.)
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