Last Updated:November 28 @ 05:03 pm

Under Obama US poverty rate swells to 1 in 6

By Hope Yen

WASHINGTON (AP) - The ranks of America's poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in more than two decades.

The Census Bureau's annual report released Tuesday offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2010, when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year. It comes at a politically sensitive time for President Barack Obama, who has acknowledged in the midst of a re-election fight that the unemployment rate could persist at high levels through next year.

The overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent, or 46.2 million, up from 14.3 percent in 2009. The official poverty level is an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four.

Reflecting the lingering impact of the recession, the U.S. poverty rate from 2007-2010 has now risen faster than any three-year period since the early 1980s, when a crippling energy crisis amid government cutbacks contributed to inflation, spiraling interest rates and unemployment.

Measured by total numbers, the 46 million now living in poverty is the largest on record dating back to when the census began tracking poverty in 1959. Based on percentages, it tied the poverty level in 1993 and was the highest since 1983.

Broken down by state, Mississippi had the highest share of poor people, at 22.7 percent, according to calculations by the Census Bureau. It was followed by Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico and Arizona. On the other end of the scale, New Hampshire had the lowest share, at 6.6 percent.

The share of Americans without health coverage rose from 16.1 percent to 16.3 percent — or 49.9 million people — after the Census Bureau made revisions to numbers of the uninsured. That is due mostly to continued losses of employer-provided health insurance in the weakened economy.

Congress passed a health overhaul last year to deal with rising numbers of the uninsured. While the main provisions do not take effect until 2014, one aspect taking effect in late 2010 allowed young adults until age 26 to be covered under their parents' health insurance.

Brett O'Hara, chief of the Health and Disability Statistics branch at the Census Bureau, noted that the uninsured rate for adults ages 18 to 24 declined last year — from 29.3 percent to 27.2 percent. It was the only age group which posted a decrease. "For the change in uninsured, the law change certainly could be a factor," he said.

The median — or midpoint — household income was $49,445, down 2.3 percent from 2009.

The latest numbers, which cover Obama's second year in office, offer political fodder for both parties as Obama seeks to push a new $447 billion plan for creating jobs and stimulating the economy. The plan includes a proposed payroll tax cut and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Obama is urging Congress to pay for the new spending largely by increasing taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans have rejected emphatically.

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau noted the impact of government safety-net programs on the poor. It estimated that new unemployment benefits passed in 2009, which gave workers up to 99 weeks of payments after a layoff, and did not run out for most people until this year, lifted 3.2 million above the poverty line. Social Security kept about 20.3 million, seniors as well as working-age adults receiving disability payments, out of poverty.

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  1. AMVoterComment by AMVoter
    September 13, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    Barack Obama:
    “If I can’t fix the economy in three years, you can call me former President Obama.” 

    —February 2009, President Obama told Today Show host Matt Lauer.

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  2. AbbyComment by Abby
    September 13, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

    And this is after the stimulus package and the extended unemployment benefits.  If this fund isn’t extended, perhaps Americans would get off their duffs and gain employment.  Stimulus doesn’t work; it is basically used for special interest groups and once the stimulus runs out, everyone is back wehre they were before the stimulus.  What it does do is increase our debt and the middle class ends up carrying the burden on their backs.  Stimulus packages will not get us out of trouble, only by the government tightening their belts, reducing their expenses, will we start to recover.  Let Capitalism work, we don’t need to share our hardearned dollars with people who don’t want to work or who are here illegally.

       And Obama’s plan for illegals amnesty will only make our problems worse.  We don’t have gainful employment now for our citizens, let alone throwing in the illegals.  I certainly hope the people wake up to the facts and stop listening to the rhetoric and emotional appeal on the people.  Textbook theory is just that– theory.  In real life, it works just a little bit differently than it is portrayed. 

      We do not need more debt; stop the squandering and start working for the people.   Follow the money! 

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      September 14, 2011 @ 8:39 am

      Damn Right, ABBY!

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  3. watcherComment by watcher
    September 13, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    Ah come on people, all he’s doing is strenghening his voting base.

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      September 14, 2011 @ 8:41 am

      But all we are doing here with our comments is trying to discourage that “voting base” from strengthening….we all know Obimbo sings to his choir.

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  4. oldcuzComment by oldcuz
    September 13, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    Please, please please take this with a little grain of salt. Over half of the world population would love to be able to live at the same poverty level as America, Of course it’s much worse here now with the current economic conditions but if you want to see real poverty just review some vidos from some of the worlds hell holes, I’m sure not saying tht we should just accept these current conditions, but at least get a little perspective about them.

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    • thedoveComment by thedove
      September 13, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

      Oldcuz, you took the words right off my keyboard.  I was going to make exactly that point in my comment.  I wish the media and political hacks would find another word, because the fact is very, very few Americans “live in poverty.”  Let them try balancing a jug of water on their heads for a mile or so in order to have drinking water and to be able to make a meal over their outside wood fire for a week or so, then we’ll talk poverty.  As I remind people who toss that word around so lightly, poverty doesn’t mean you have to share your cell ‘phone with other family members.

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    • iamacmanComment by iamacman
      September 13, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

      thedove, that’s not the point. Yes, we should be thankful and appreciative of what we have. Yes, we should realize that others are suffering in ways we can’t imagine. However, none of that diminishes the fact that Obama’s policies are bringing us in that direction and that is a huge step backwards for this nation. That is the point.
      In addition, the cost of essential needs in the nation in which you live vs average income in that nation also comes into play. Although $20k doesn’t buy a lot of essentials in the USA, it would buy a LOT in Uganda. I’m sure the poverty level line which we have drawn in the US is based at least in part on this principle.
      I highly doubt that a family living on $20k in the USA is spending money on cell phones. At the $20k level, it’s all you can do to feed your family and keep a roof over their heads.

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      September 14, 2011 @ 8:54 am


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  5. conservativepatriotComment by conservativepatriot
    September 13, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    The problem is that liberals want to feel good about themselves and want to get elected or re-elected. Therefore they concentrate on increasing unemployment benefits, health care, and so forth for the unemployed. They do this by villifying and taxing the few people who are still working and the businesses that employ them. The effect of all this is to worsen the unemployment situation, increase our already crippling debt, and to get elected and re-elected. Until the people in this country see through the liberal claptrap and vote for responsible fiscal conservatives who will reign in spending, cut taxes, and put people back to work, the unemployment and poverty figures will continue to climb. Note that despite the recent scholarly work showing that FDR’s (and Hoover’s, which he continued) spending and government interference in the economy actually worsened and prolonged the Great Depression by many years, obama is following in his footsteps. Why? Because although the interventions did not work, they got him re-elected four times and grew the government into the behemoth it is today, which gives people like obama and his ilk power while taking away our freedoms. Until the American people see this, and there is no reason to assume that they eventually will, we are doomed to repeat the experience of every other socialist/communist nation in the world.

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    • FlaJimComment by FlaJim
      September 13, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

      Let’s not forget the crippling regulations that Dems are so fond of.  Since Commander Zero took over, regulations have added about $80 billion in hidden taxes and the cost of compliance alone is over $5 billion.  Then there’s the looming disaster of his health care socialization with its rules, regulations, and additional costs.

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  6. iamacmanComment by iamacman
    September 13, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    You people aren’t getting the message. Look at the numbers Hope Yen unveiled. It is quite obvious that Odumbo knows what he is doing, and that his methods are working. The numbers speak for themselves.
    This is why Congress should pass Odumbo’s jobs bill “right away”. No need to even read it. Just pass it – Now.
    So we can all get some money from those evil rich guys who don’t deserve it…

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    • downdraftComment by downdraft
      September 14, 2011 @ 9:08 am

      Yeah, you are right… those evil rich guys…they don’t deserve it all…what did they ever do for America? Some of them, or their families heard about this “land of opportunitiy”…hopped a ship, landed on our shores, got jobs, started small and larger businesses, invested in these businesses all they had, took enormous risks, created thousands of jobs….then it PAID OFF…yep, these SOBs don’t deserve to reap the treasures of what they sow…they should be taxed out of business, or at least fvorced offshore and to take their thousands of jobs with them so other countries can benefit from their jobs they take with them…we don’t owe them nothing…and the rest of you hard working and successful businesses you take heed too…you are next…how dare you come to this “land of opportunity” and be successful…if you ain’t UNION or MARXISTS, then GO BACK to where your families came from! We’ll stay here…and ***** and moan that you left!
      Nice post iamacman

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  7. Pingback: Under Obama US poverty rate swells to 1 in 6 « alabama2012dotcom

  8. leveltruthComment by leveltruth
    September 13, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    Hey Abbey, et al,
    Remember that 40% of the stimulus was more tax cuts going to those mythical job creators…still waiting for the jobs from the 2001-2003 cuts to materialize.
    Would you please reconcile the statement?—”If this fund isn’t extended, perhaps Americans would get off their duffs and gain employment.”

    And Obama’s plan for illegals amnesty will only make our problems worse.  We don’t have gainful employment now for our citizens, let alone throwing in the illegals.”
    this has been another NO B.S. momment.

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  9. RWComment by RW
    September 14, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    I tell ya what…all you folks who like to compare America with Third World countries, and tell us how good we do have it and for us to …I say…. Yeah, you go to the countries, and live the good life with them. Become citizens and have 95% of your money taken away in “taxes,” so yer leaders can drink Cristal champagne, wear designer pjs, drive silver Mercedes. OR maybe you can just re-elect obama and his queen, and watch THEM drink Cristal, while we wear loin cloths and swat flies from our faces.
    In other words, THIS IS AMERICA. We became the most powerful and richest country in the world by being free from oppressive, dictatorial, tax spending monarchies. WE are supposed to BE the government, and now….we are enslaved, in poverty, BY this government.

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