Growing Poverty in America

Published on Dissident Voice, by Stephen Lendman, Sept. 21, 2010.

… In January 2010, Feeding America (FA, formerly America’s Second Harvest) confirmed the growing problem in its report titled, “Hunger in America 2010,” a topic an earlier article addressed.

Since 2005, it cited a 27% increase, saying one in eight Americans are food insecure, meaning they don’t get enough to eat. Included are 14 million children and three million seniors, and these numbers keep rising as the economy weakens. 

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty estimates over three million Americans experience homelessness annually, including about 1.3 million children. Even more are at risk because of growing numbers losing jobs and homes. For others, one health emergency makes them homeless.

In July, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and First Focus reported about one million homeless students. Based on Department of Education data, the total rose by over 40% from the 2006-07 school year – 2008-09, a number well over a million now and rising.

Since mid-2007, total household wealth plunged $13.9 trillion, another disturbing trend, confirming so many others, showing up poverty and other data.

The US Census Bureau Report:

On September 16, the Census Bureau reported that US poverty rose to 43.6 million in 2009, an increase of 3.8 million in the past year – the largest total since the first 1959 estimates. It shows one in seven Americans are impoverished, the official 14.3% rate the highest since 1994, by the Bureau’s conservative measures. Black and Hispanic Americans fared much worse at 25.8% and 25.3% respectively.

Child poverty also rose, those under 18 to 20.7% – at least one in five children, but according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), it’s one in four at yearend 2009. For Blacks it’s well over one in three and for Hispanics nearly the same.

The Bureau computes several alternative income and poverty measures in two categories:

  • one based on the 1995 National Academy of Sciences Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance, called NAS-based measures; and,
  • the other from the Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty series (R&D) … //

… Growing poverty creates a deplorable burden overall, as America slips closer to third world status. For millions today, it’s already arrived. Fiscal austerity is accelerating it when stimulus is desperately needed. Yet it’s not forthcoming or planned because the Treasury and Fed won’t put their money where our mouths are. (full text).

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