U.S. Economy Suffers Lost Decade, The Great Middle Class Poverty

Friday, September 16, 2011
By Paul Martin

By: EconMatters
Market Oracle
Sep 15, 2011

In yet another sign that the Great Recession cuts deep and long–the number of Americans living below the official poverty line reached 46.2 million, the highest in 52 years since the Census Bureau started tracking the figures in 1959.

The overall poverty rate also climbed to a 17-year high at 15.1%, which means 1 in 6 Americans are living below poverty line largely due to the high unemployment and underemployment rate. The official poverty line for 2010 is defined as an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for an individual.

The Census Bureau’s annual report released on Tuesday, Sept. 13 gives a very grim snapshot of American households in 2010. As the U.S. economy expanded 3% in 2010, and corporations reported good profits, the gains are not trickling down to workers. The median household income in 2010 dropped to $49,445, which is virtually unchanged from the level in 1997. Overall, household income has fallen by 6.4% since the recession began in December 2007. (Ok, who was the one declared that the recession “officially” ended in June 2009?)

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