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Severe Poverty at its Highest Level in America

March 1, 2007 by  


US Corporate Profits At Highest Levels, Too

(CBS4) WASHINGTON The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty is the highest in thirty years, in which millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line, and the gulf between this country’s ‘’haves’’ and ‘’have-nots’’ gets wider.

The McClatchy Company – owners of the Miami Herald – a CBS4 news partner – went through an analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, and found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty.

A family of four, with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 — half the federal poverty line — was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

At the same time, economists found worker productivity increasing sizeably since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. The share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. Median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.

In about forty states, including Florida, the incomes of the bottom fifth of families grew slower than the incomes of the top fifth over the past twenty years, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

And now records show that 43 percent of the nation’s 37 million poor people are in deep poverty — the highest rate since at least 1975.

Nearly two out of three people (10.3 million) in severe poverty are white, but blacks (4.3 million) and Hispanics of any race (3.7 million) make up disproportionate shares. Blacks are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be in deep poverty, while Hispanics are roughly twice as likely.

And the poorest city in the country is the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., with 10.8 percent being severely poor.

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