US Poverty Rate Still at Record Highs But figures still better than analysts' predictions By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Sep 12, 2012 10:16 AM CDT 39 comments Comments In this Monday, July 30, 2012 photo, Dave Krepcho, director of the Second Harvest Food Bank, looks over a supply of goods that have arrived at the food bank warehouse in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Newser) – The Census Bureau says the number of Americans in poverty stood at 15% in 2011 as the number of poor remained at record highs. About 46.2 million people, or nearly 1 in 6, were in poverty. The figures were better than the expectations of analysts who had predicted an increase due to persistently high unemployment. The number in poverty in 2010 was 15.1%. That figure improved modestly in 2011, but wage growth was weak. A University of Michigan economist calls the poverty figures surprising and a sign that expiring unemployment benefits were able to help workers for much of the year. The median, or midpoint, household income was $50,054—a 1.5% decline from 2010.