Poverty Rate Spiked To 15.1 Percent Last Year, Highest Since 1993

“The nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009,” the Census Bureau just reported.

It adds that this is “the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 — the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.”

A family of four is officially classified as poor if its annual cash income, before taxes, is $22,314 or less. For a two-person household, the threshold is $14,218. Those figures do not include any accumulated wealth or “noncash aid such as food stamps,” The Associated Press notes.

Census also says:

“The poverty rate in 2010 was the highest since 1993 but was 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. Since 2007, the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percentage points.”

Overall, says the bureau:

“In 2010, median household income declined, the poverty rate increased and the percentage without health insurance coverage was not statistically different from the previous year. Real median household income in the United States in 2010 was $49,445, a 2.3 percent decline from the 2009 median.”

NPR’s Pam Fessler will have more on the report later, on All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

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