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U.S. Census: 49 million live in poverty

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U.S. Census: 49 million live in poverty

Number breaks record at 16% of Americans

  • Ed Yourdon/Flickr

The latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers show that 49.1 million Americans were living in poverty in 2010, Reuters reported. This was a record breaking number, indicating 16 percent of the American population lives in poverty.

This recent number released Monday contrasts with an official poverty measure released in September which said 46.2 million people, or 15.1 percent, lived in poverty in the country, Reuters reported.

The number released Monday, the Supplemental Poverty Measure, is higher than the figure reported in September because it is based on the everyday costs of families — food, clothing, shelter and utilities, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. This is a shift from the method the bureau has been using since the 1960s, which determined the poverty line by tripling a family’s annual food budget.

Monday’s numbers also raised the poverty line to an annual income of $24,343 for a family of two adults and two children, as opposed to $22,113, the official standard, Reuters reported. The rising out-of-pocket medical expenses in the country, which contribute to everyday costs, were not factored into the data, the Washington Post reported.

Americans 65 or old saw the steepest poverty increase of 15.9 percent as opposed to 9 percent under the official formula. The supplemental measure made it 18.2 million Americans under 18 living in poverty, a drop from the 22.5 percent official rate, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

The Hispanic poverty rate rose to 28.2 percent, affecting 14.1 million people, surpassing the number of impoverished African Americans for the first time, Politico reported. A huge number, 9.9 million, of African Americans still live in poverty, however, which is a rate of 25.4 percent. According to Politico the Asian poverty rate was 16.7 percent, or 2.4 million people. Non-Hispanic whites had a poverty rate of 11.1 percent, or 21.9 million people, Politico reported.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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