US Poverty Approaches 1960s Levels
Record increase expected with 2009 census results
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 12, 2010 3:18 PM CDT
In this Aug. 27, 2009 file photo, Simon Norwood, a construction worker who hasn't found work in months, poses in a garage apartment belonging to a friend in Little Rock, Ark.   (Danny Johnston)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The number of people in the US who are in poverty is on track for a record increase on President Barack Obama's watch, with the ranks of working-age poor approaching 1960s levels that led to the national war on poverty. Census figures for 2009, the recession-ravaged first year of the Democrat's presidency, are to be released in the coming week, and demographers expect grim findings.

The anticipated poverty rate increase, from 13.2% to about 15%, would be another blow to Democrats struggling to persuade voters to keep them in power. Should those estimates hold true, some 45 million people in this country, or more than 1 in 7, were poor last year. It would be the highest single-year increase since the government began calculating poverty figures in 1959. The previous high was in 1980 when the rate jumped 1.3 percentage points to 13% during the energy crisis.