Nearly Half of Americans Are Poor, Low-Income

New metric includes living costs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2011 10:26 AM CST
Nearly Half of Americans Are Poor, Low-Income
Almost half of all Americans are having trouble getting by.   (Shutterstock)

Nearly 1 in 2 Americans are living either below the poverty level or within a stone's throw of it, according to a new Census metric designed to give a more complete view of poverty. According to the latest data, 49.1 million Americans are below the poverty line, and another 97.3 million are considered low-income, which is usually defined as having income between 100% and 199% of the poverty level, the AP reports.

The new system is designed to account for living expenses like medical costs and commuting costs, and those factors drove the total higher than the 1 in 3 that was reported in September. But even by traditional tallies, the share of working families who are low income has risen for three straight years, to 31.2%, its highest level in a decade. (Read more US Census stories.)

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