According to the New York Times, the U.S. Census Bureau reported yesterday that 2.6 million people fell below the poverty line in the United States last year.
That brings the number of American living in poverty to 46.2 million, which is the highest it has been in the 52 years since the bureau first began publishing the data.
The Times included the observation of Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard – who pointed out that Americans’ incomes have not stagnated for this long since the Great Depression.
From the Times:
“This is truly a lost decade,” Mr. Katz said. “We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”
The bureau’s findings were worse than many economists expected, and brought into sharp relief the toll the past decade — including the painful declines of the financial crisis and recession —had taken on Americans at the middle and lower parts of the income ladder. It is also fresh evidence that the disappointing economic recovery has done nothing for the country’s poorest citizens.
The report said the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line last year, 15.1 percent, was the highest level since 1993. (The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314.)
As far as the long term health and happiness of our readership, this might very well be the most relevant topic we’ve ever discussed at Bensonhurst Bean, so we want to hear from you.
How has the economy affected you and your family? Have you had to take pay cuts or forgo an expected raise? Are you or a loved one out of work? Do you know someone who has lost a manufacturing or IT job to overseas outsourcing?
Feel free to add your own two cents about possible solutions or mistakes you feel the government has made in addressing the economy. Please just try to avoid the typical Democrat versus Republican partisan name-calling.