Record number of Americans in poverty as wealth gap between young and old increases

By Andrew Jones
Monday, November 7, 2011 11:35 EDT
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A homeless woman in Houston, TX, right downtown (Photo credit: Flickr)
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The alarming number of Americans living in poverty continues to rise.

According to new figures released by U.S. Census Bureau, 49.1 million — or 16 percent — of Americans are now living below the poverty line. The numbers are an increase from 2010, when the previous record was at 46.2 million (16 percent). Americans 65 or older had the biggest jump in poverty, hitting 15.9 percent from the previous total of 9 percent.

The poverty rate isn’t the only economic figure setting an unwanted record, as the wealth gap between old and young Americans has also reached its widest ever. A typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than the average household headed by someone under 35, according to the Pew Research Center.

Those figures also include 37 percent of younger households with a net worth of zero or less, a demographic that has doubled since 1984.

(Photo credit: Nick Moise)

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones is a staff writer/reporter for Raw Story. Besides covering politics, he is also a freelance sports journalist, as well as a slam poetry and music artist. You can follow him on Twitter @sluggahjells.
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