In 2009�6.3% of people in the USA suffered severe poverty, that is lived in households with income less than half the poverty line. This is the highest severe poverty rate on record.
That means that over 19 million people in the USA live in households with income less than half the poverty line (severe poverty implies income significantly less than $ 11,000 per year for a family of four).
It’s worth remarking that in 1993, after 12 years of beneficent Republican administrations under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the percentage of families living in extreme poverty had risen to 6.2%, almost as high as it is today. Then there’s a steady decline from 1993 to 2000 to 4.5% in Bill Clinton’s last year in the White House, but the trend is reversed again under George W. Bush, and continues to worsen.
More than 19 million Americans were living in extreme poverty in 2009, and it’s hard to believe that the number isn’t growing right now, as extended unemployment benefits are exhausted for more and more Americans every day, and long-term unemployment continues to exceed all previous records.
In July, 44.9% of this country’s unemployed workers had been unemployed for over six months, nearly 20 percentage points above the high of all prior recessions, which was 26.0%, set in the summer of 1983.