Increase in Poverty Level in the US

A recent article on discusses new data released by the Census Bureau, which shows that the poverty rate has increased from 11.3% in 2000 to 14.3% in 2009. This is the highest poverty rate since 1994 and the number of Americans categorized as "in need," 43.6 million, is the highest recorded in 51 years. The poverty level threshold, as set by the Office of Budget and Management, is less than $21,954 for a family of four and less than $10,956 for an individual. Part of this increase in poverty could be result of the rapid increase in unemployment that occurred in 2009, as the unemployment rate went from 7.7% in the beginning of the year to 10.1% by October.

Rather drastic regional differences were found in the poverty levels across the US. The South was found to be the poorest region of the US and experienced the biggest increase in poverty with a rate of 15.7%. The Northeast fared the best, with a poverty rate of only 12.2%. Mississippi was found to be the poorest state, at a 20.6% poverty rate, while New Hampshire had the lowest poverty rate, 7.3%. According to this article, however, these comparisons could be skewed as they do not take into account regional differences in costs of living.
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