From the Summary:
In 2011, 46.2 million people were counted as poor in the United States, the same number as in 2010 and the largest number of persons counted as poor in the measure’s 53-year recorded history. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 15.0% in 2011, statistically unchanged from 2010. The 2011 poverty rate of 15.0% is well above its most recent pre-recession low of 12.3% in 2006, and has reached the highest level seen in the past 18 years (1993). The increase in poverty over the past four years reflects the effects of the economic recession that began in December 2007. Some analysts expect poverty to remain above pre-recessionary levels for as long as a decade, and perhaps longer, given the depth of the recession and slow pace of economic recovery. The pre-recession poverty rate of 12.3% in 2006 was well above the 11.3% rate at the beginning of the decade, in 2000, which marked a historical low previously attained in 1973 (11.1%, a rate statistically tied with the 2000 poverty rate).
Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
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