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Ranks of Poor Swelled Last Year

  • September 26th, 2002

The percentage of Americans living in poverty rose significantly last year, registering the first increase in nearly a decade, according to the Census Bureau's annual report on income and poverty. At the same time, the income of middle-class households fell for the first time since 1991. The findings are evidence that the recession that began in March 2001 has affected large segments of the population.

The Census Bureau said the number of poor Americans swelled to 32.9 million in 2001, an increase of 1.3 million, while the proportion living in poverty climbed to 11.7 percent, from 11.3 percent in 2000. The poverty rate for families rose to 9.2 percent, from a 26-year low of 8.7 percent in 2000.

The gap between rich and poor continues to grow, the report suggested. While average income for the top 5 percent of households rose by $1,000 last year, to $260,464, the average declined or stayed about the same for most other income brackets.

For a New York Times article on the Census Bureau report, click here. Free registration on the site is required.

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Last Modified: 09/26/2002

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