Poverty approaches ’60s levels


Economists predict the U.S. poverty rate will approach 16 percent this year, matching or surpassing the highest poverty levels since the 1960s.

The Huffington Post reports:

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 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. 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.

The group of economists surveyed also predicted that child poverty and suburban poverty rates will increase, but poverty among senior citizens will remain at historically low levels due in large part to Social Security payments.