Friday, May 02, 2014

One in Five Americans

One in five Americans is poor or nearly poor, according to the Census Bureau. Fully 61 million of the nation's 311 million people were living in or near poverty in 2012, defined as having a family income either below the poverty level or within 100 to 125 percent of the poverty level. For a family of four with two adults and two children, this is an income of $29,104 or less. For someone who lives alone, it's an income of $14,931 or less. As a point of reference, a minimum wage worker who logs 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, would have an annual income just above the near-poverty level, at $15,080.

Between 1966 and 2012, the percentage of Americans who live in or near poverty has fallen slightly—from 21.0 to 19.7 percent. The percentage in poverty climbed from 14.7 to 15.0 percent during those years, while the percentage near poverty fell from 6.3 to 4.7 percent. The poor and near-poor population expanded by more than 20 million between 1966 and 2012.

Source: Census Bureau, Living in Near Poverty in the United States: 1966-2012

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