American poverty levels hit record high

From The Guardian UK:

US poverty rate swells for third year to 15.1% with the number of poor in 2010 the largest on record

Reuters, Wednesday 14 September 2011

A record 46 million Americans were living in poverty in 2010, pushing the US poverty rate to its highest level since 1993, according to a government report on Tuesday on the grim effects of stubbornly high unemployment.

Underscoring the economic challenges that face President Barack Obama and Congress, the US census Bureau said the poverty rate rose for a third consecutive year to hit 15.1% in 2010. The number in poverty was the largest since the government first began publishing estimates in 1959.

The report surfaces at a time when the economic straits of ordinary Americans are at the forefront of the 2012 election campaign.

Obama is suffering from low job approval ratings on the economy and evidence of rising poverty could give popular momentum to the $450 billion job-creation program he unveiled last week.

The census data also could come into play in the deliberations of a bipartisan super committee in Congress, which has been charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years by 23 November.

The United States has the highest poverty rate among developed countries, according to the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The poverty line for an American family of four with two children is an income $22,113 a year.

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