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.