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Understanding poverty in the U.S.

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Rector, Robert.jpg

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual poverty report, released this morning, found that 46.2 million Americans, or one in seven of us, were poor in 2010. The prolonged recession, with its high levels of unemployment, clearly has swollen the ranks of the poor.

But high numbers for poverty as defined by the Census Bureau predates the current recession. In most years for the past two decades, in fact, the Census Bureau declared that more than 35 million Americans were “living in poverty.” Last year’s number was 43.5 million.

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