‘Levels Unseen’: U.S. Poverty Rate on Track To Be Highest Since 1960s

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest of the poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out.

The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, according to the Associated Press, erasing gains from any sensible economic policies in recent decades.

Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections, and Tom Blumer at Newsbusters suspects the Associated Press’ lengthy write-up is being released now so it doesn’t have to be given as much attention right before the election.

“It looks like the strategy is to get a comprehensive report out on how bad things are in July when few are paying attention, and then to give the official report short shrift when it arrives in mid-September,” he wrote.

The Associated Press reportedly surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.


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