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Census: 97 Million Americans in Low-Income Category, 1 in 2 Now in Poverty – Ballin’ Just Ain’t The Same These Days

Remember the good old days of 2006 when you could turn up your nose at the lives of the ghettofabulous? You know, the “Hood Rich” folks with a fetish for fashion and liquor they have a hard time pronouncing? Yeah, you know, those low-class bottom feeders two pay checks away from poverty? Yeah, this was around the time really poor folks would cry themselves to sleep at night after watching an episode of  MTV Cribs, wishing for a record deal or the death of a rich uncle

Oh how times have changed:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

“Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too ‘rich’ to qualify,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

“The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” he said. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”

Yeah, it’s pretty cruddy these days for po’ folks, but as always, somebody got something stupid to say:

[…] Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far. He said some people described as poor live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

“There’s no doubt the recession has thrown a lot of people out of work and incomes have fallen,” Rector said. “As we come out of recession, it will be important that these programs promote self-sufficiency rather than dependence and encourage people to look for work.”

Obviously there are two Americas, and clearly, “certain people” just don’t get it:

[…} Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far. He said some people described as poor live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

[…] About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by theCensus Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That’s up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.

The new measure of poverty takes into account medical, commuting and other living costs as well as taxes. Doing that pushed the number of people below 200 percent of the poverty level up from the 104 million, or 1 in 3 Americans, that was officially reported in September.

Broken down by age, children were most likely to be poor or low-income — about 57 percent — followed by seniors 65 and over. By race and ethnicity, Hispanics topped the list at 73 percent, followed by blacks, Asians and non-Hispanic whites.

Even by traditional measures, many working families are hurting.

“There’s no doubt the recession has thrown a lot of people out of work and incomes have fallen,” Rector said. “As we come out of recession, it will be important that these programs promote self-sufficiency rather than dependence and encourage people to look for work.”

1.6 Million Children Now Homeless

[…] Among low-income families, about one-third were considered poor while the remainder — 6.9 million — earned income just above the poverty line. Many states phase out eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid, tax credit and other government aid programs for low-income Americans as they approach 200 percent of the poverty level.

The majority of low-income families — 62 percent — spent more than one-third of their earnings on housing, surpassing a common guideline for what is considered affordable. By some census surveys, child-care costs consume close to another one-fifth when a mother works.

[…] A survey of 29 cities conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors released Thursday points to a gloomy outlook for those on the lower end of the income scale.

Many mayors cited the challenges of meeting increased demands for food assistance, expressing particular concern about possible cuts to federal programs such as food stamps and WIC, which assists low-income pregnant women and mothers. Unemployment led the list of causes of hunger in cities, followed by poverty, low wages and high housing costs.

Across the 29 cities, about 27 percent of people needing emergency food aid did not receive it. Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville, Tenn.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Trenton, N.J., were among the cities that pointed to increases in the cost of food and declining food donations. Mayor Michael McGinn in Seattle cited an unexpected spike in food requests from immigrants and refugees, particularly from Somalia, Burma and Bhutan.

Among those requesting emergency food assistance, 51 percent were in families, 26 percent were employed, 19 percent were elderly and 11 percent were homeless.

“People who never thought they would need food are in need of help,” said Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Mo., who co-chairs a mayors’ task force on hunger and homelessness.

Clearly, as you can see, ballin’ just ain’t the same anymore these days; hell, I don’t even know if MTV still airs Cribs. However, I do know that 50% of all workers made less than $36,000 in 2010. Now I don’t know about you or how old you are. But, $26,000 a year isn’t enough to raise a family on. It can be done, pre-recession po’ folk did it. But please believe, there are a lot of people new to this reality, or the soon-to-be, new normal. Last week a woman in Texas denied social services shot her two kids and killed herself. Here’s to hoping this doesn’t become the new normal as well.

Times sure have changed, indeed.

 

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Published on: December 15, 2011

Filled Under: Politics

Views: 1289

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  • Reggie

    Well damn!!!

    No wonder the mall was empty today.

     
  • http://www.depravedmindset.com jujube

    Ummmm… the title of your article misrepresents the facts… 1 in 2 people are not in poverty. 1 in 2 people are EITHER low income OR in poverty. 1/3 of the people who are considered low income are actually living in poverty… so i guess that makes about 1 in 6 people in poverty… or something like that.

     
    • http://rippdemup.com/ RiPPa

      Source?

       
      • http://www.depravedmindset.com jujube

        My source is YOUR article…. look it over carefully… the info is all on this page…. These are all quotes from the articles above…..

        “Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1
        in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that
        classify them as low income.” –notice the word OR

        “About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly
        defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty
        level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is
        designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1
        million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they
        number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population.” –Thus the COMBINATION of low income AND people living in poverty are almost 50%

        ” Among low-income families, about one-third were considered poor
        while the remainder — 6.9 million — earned income just above the poverty
        line. Many states phase out eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid, tax
        credit and other government aid programs for low-income Americans as
        they approach 200 percent of the poverty level.” —-1/3 of the people considered low income were actually living below poverty level… so 1/3 of 1/2, if I have my math right is about 1/6…..

        All of these quotes are directly from your article (well, not directly, since you were quoting from another source, but I am sure you get what I mean

        The fact that 1 in 2 people are LOW INCOME is not all that much better, but if you want to be technical about poverty, which has a very precise definition……

         
        • http://rippdemup.com/ RiPPa

          The headline reflects the results of the stats and is not misleading. It is a fact that 1 in 2 not live in or near poverty. But maybe you can prove otherwise because thus far you haven’t.

           
          • http://www.depravedmindset.com jujube

            the headline says “1 in 2 now in poverty” which I already showed is not true, if you want to be accurate “1 in 2 or NEAR OR in poverty” Come on really now, I just laid it out plain as day based  on quotes from your own article