As Poverty Rises, Wrong Time to Cut Safety Net

Tuesday’s U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty in the United States shows record numbers of Americans fell into poverty, more families lost access to health care, and child poverty increased dramatically between 2009 and 2010. More than 15 percent of the U.S. population or 46 million people fell below the official poverty level in 2010—defined as a family of four with income below $22,314 in annual earnings. The real median income fell 2.3 percent to $49,445 and 50 million people went without health care coverage.

While the overall poverty rates tracked up dramatically in 2010, a closer look at subsections of the data reveals a grim picture: Some of the most vulnerable Americans continue to fall deeper into poverty. The share of children in poverty jumped from 20.7 percent to 22 percent or 16.4 million children. Individuals living in deep poverty (50 percent of the poverty level or less than $11,157 for a family of four) increased to 21 million people.

This article was originally published in New America Media.