On the Rise: Poverty in America


In 2009, 43.6 million Americans, or 14.3% of the population, lived at or below the poverty level. That’s up from 13.2% in 2008, according to the Census Bureau. More importantly, it is the highest poverty level recorded in the last 51 years.

For a family of four, in 2009 that means living with an income of $21,954 or less, and though some question the merit of poverty level statistics since they do not include the value of social programs like food stamps, Medicaid or the Earned Income Tax Credit, few would argue that those income levels make for a challenging, day-to-day and check-to-check financial situation.

How did we get here? In our latest infographic, we look back at poverty levels in the United States over the past 40 years, and more.

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