AP: Poverty On Track To Return to 1960s Levels


The Associated Press reports that economists and academics expect the official U.S. poverty rate to rise to its highest level since 1965 when the Census Bureau releases its figures for 2011 in November.

The AP surveyed a mix of conservative, liberal and nonpartisan experts and concluded that together, the group forecasts the poverty rate could rise from 15.1 percent in 2010 to as high as 15.7 percent. If the rate only increases by one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent, it will tie 1983's poverty rate—the highest since 1965.

The highest poverty rate on record—22.4 percent—was measured in 1959.

In January, a study from Indiana University predicted that the number of poor people in the U.S. would continue to rise, in part because old jobs were being replaced by new, lower-paying jobs and because states are cutting their welfare budgets.

"One of the big surprises is that poverty in the United States is likely to continue to increase even as the economic recovery unfolds," John Graham, one of the authors of the report, “At Risk: America's Poor During and After the Great Recession,” told the Guardian newspaper. "The unique feature of the great recession is not just the high rate of unemployment, but the long duration of unemployment that millions of Americans have experienced. [For] a lot of these long-term unemployed, the job that they had won't exist when they go back in to the labor market."