47.8 Million People Live in Poverty -- Far More Than Previously Thought

The Census Bureau has released new estimates that show the US poverty rate is far higher than previously thought, with 1 in 6 Americans living below the poverty line, reports the AP. Unlike the official poverty rate, the new numbers take into account medical bills as well as transportation costs and work expenses. The number of seniors living in poverty almost doubles under the new formula, according to the AP.

The report also found that in 2009 many families were saved from poverty by government aid programs like work stamps and tax credits. The piece quotes a Census Bureau research economist who says:

Under the new measure, we can clearly see the effects of our government policies ... When you're accounting for in-kind benefits and tax credits, you're bringing many people in extreme poverty off the very bottom.

Less likely to pull people out of poverty: showboating about the deficit, threatening Social Security, promising to repeal health care reform and other preoccupations of the newly inaugurated Republican House.

AlterNet / By Tana Ganeva

Posted at January 5, 2011, 1:04pm

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