Poverty in the United States is projected to climb to the highest level in nearly half a century as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year.
According to a survey conducted by The Associated Press, US poverty could reach a 46-year high, with suburban families, underemployed workers, and children among the hardest-hit people, the news agency reported on Sunday.
The census was based on expert opinions from more than a dozen economists and academics in the US. The figures are expected to be made public just weeks ahead of the November presidential elections.
The data also showed that the official poverty rate could have reached 15.7 percent in 2011, which reflects a whopping increase of six percent compared to the previous year.
“I’m reluctant to say that we’ve gone back to where we were in the 1960s,” said Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy.
“The programs we enacted make a big difference. The problem is that the tidal wave of low-wage jobs is dragging us down and the wage problem is not going to go away anytime soon,” he added.
The estimates, offered by the experts, contributing to the census, suggested some 47 million people in the US, equal to one in every six, were poor last year. The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959 when the government began calculating poverty figures.
The survey also suggested that the number of Americans who relied on food stamp had also grown considerably.
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