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Poverty Spreading at Record Levels

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. That’s according to an Associated Press report published at Fox Latino News.com. The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.
According to the article, the official poverty rate among Latinos was 26.7 percent in 2010, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. That number places Latinos behind the country’s largest ethnic groups, with the exception of African Americans, 27.5 percent of whom were below the poverty line in 2010.
More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.
Even after strong economic growth in the 1990s, poverty never fell below a 1973 low of 11.1 percent. That low point came after President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, launched in 1964, created Medicaid, Medicare and other social welfare programs.
Stacey Mazer of the National Association of State Budget Officers said states will be watching for poverty increases when figures are released in September as they make decisions about the Medicaid expansion. Most states generally assume poverty levels will hold mostly steady and they will hesitate if the findings show otherwise. “It’s a constant tension in the budget,” she said in the Fox Latino News article.

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