Econintersect: According to a new US Census study, part of the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS), about 48.5 million people or 15.9 percent of the U.S. population had income below the poverty level.
Between 2010 and 2011, the number of people with income below the poverty level increased by 2.2 million, while the poverty rate increased by 0.6 percentage points. This was the fourth consecutive increase in the poverty rate, but the percentage point increase was smaller than the increases between 2008 and 2009 and between 2009 and 2010, which were 1.1 percentage points and 1.0 percentage point, respectively.
According to the report, which compares poverty rates in 2010 and 2011 for the nation, states and large metropolitan areas:
- Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, New Hampshire (8.8 percent) had the lowest poverty rate, and Mississippi (22.6 percent) had one of the highest poverty rates.
- Among metro areas with populations of 500,000 or more, poverty rates ranged from a low of 8.3 percent in the Washington metro area, to 37.7 percent in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas.
- The number and percentage of people in poverty increased in 17 states between 2010 and 2011. For 10 states, this was the third consecutive annual increase. In five states, the number of people in poverty increased while the poverty rates did not increase.
- Between the 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey, both the percentage and number of people in poverty in Vermont declined.
- In 27 states and the District of Columbia, there was no change in either the number of people in poverty or the poverty rate.
Source: US Census