More bad news on the economy, as the ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels not seen in nearly 40 years.
Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the weeks ahead of the November elections. However, the Associated Press 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% in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7%. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a rise of a tenth of a percentage point would put poverty at the highest level since 1965, according to the news service.
“Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor,” the AP writes. “More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.”