Aaron, Kat

Working, But Still Poor

By Kat Aaron and Lynne Perri
New America Media

From the president to Congress to nearly every neighborhood in America, the focus today is on job creation. But for millions of Americans, just having a job doesn’t mean prosperity or anything like it.

Nearly one in six Americans lived in poverty in 2010, according to data released today by the Census Bureau. That’s 46.2 million people, the highest number ever recorded in the 52 years that poverty estimates have been calculated.

The rise in poverty may be attributable in part to the nation’s persistently high unemployment rate. “We have an increase in the number of people who did not work at all last year,” said Trudi Renwick, chief of the poverty statistics branch of the Census Bureau. “That might be the single most important factor” behind the higher poverty rate, she said.

But working people are also struggling, as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal.