US Poverty

49 Million In Poverty: Poor Americans Reach Record Numbers

There are 49 million in poverty spread across the United States, according to The Detroit News. The findings were reportedly based on a new consensus measure that takes things like work-related expenses and medical costs into consideration.

Based on the new formula devised by the Census Bureau, over 49.7 million people were living below the poverty line in 2010. This number is much higher than the government’s official record-breaking figure released in September. Based on the old formula, officials found 46.2 million people are considered to be impoverished in the US.

“We’re seeing a very slow recovery, with increases in poverty among workers due to more new jobs which are low-wage,” explained University of Wisconsin-Madison economist Timothy Smeeding. “As a whole, the safety net is holding many people up, while California is struggling more because it’s relatively harder there to qualify for food stamps and other benefits.”

The Daily Mail explains that 16 percent of the United States citizens are presently living in poverty. In fact, some states such as California found themselves rising to the top of the impoverished list despite the large number of wealthy folks who called these places home.

According to the report, poverty seemed to affect individuals aged 65 and older the most. Were it not for Social Security Payments, the poverty rate for this age group would have risen to 51.4 percent. Overall, the country’s rate would jump from 16 percent to 24.4 percent.

Arloc Sherman, senior researcher at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, believes the expiration of such programs as the Earned Income Tax Credit could dramatically increase the number of poor people living in America.

“These figures are timely given the looming expiration of two key measures that account for part of these programs’ large antipoverty impact: federal emergency unemployment insurance and improvements in refundable tax credits,” Sherman said. “Letting these measures expire at year’s end could push large numbers of families into poverty.”

Is 49 million in poverty an acceptable number? Should the government be doing more to help those who are considered poor?