Poverty in the U.S. Growing Across the Board: One in Two Americans Considered Poor
February 21, 2013 • 10:29AM

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in two Americans currently falls into either the "low income" category or is living in poverty. This is Obama/London's depopulation policy at work, immediately hitting the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

An article in Truthout.org by Alter-Net contributing editor Lynn Parramore points out that, after adjusting for inflation, earnings for the bottom 20% of families in the U.S. have dropped from $16,788 in 1979 to just under $15,000. Earnings for the next 20% have been stuck at $37,000. The Census Bureau estimates that, to be considered living above the poverty line, a family of four must earn approximately $23,000 a year.

But a full-time minimum-wage job pays $14,500 a year, or less than $279 a week, before taxes. An estimated 8.9 million American adults work full-time at minimum wage — these are the official figures — but cannot keep their families out of poverty. They must rely on federal nutritional assistance programs (the SNAP program, for example) to buy food; they don't have access to safe housing — in fact there is not one congressional district in the United States where a full-time minimum-wage worker can afford fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Thus, millions of low-wage families must rent places that consume most of their paychecks.

Food? Of the 46.7 million Americans who must use food stamps, many are children who cannot work. During some part of their childhood, almost half of all U.S. children will be on food stamps! For black children, that figures soars to 90%. Eight percent of those receiving food stamps are seniors, Parramore reports. Take into account, too, that the average monthly SNAP benefit is $133.85 per person, or less than $1.50 per person, per meal. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2011, a gallon of milk cost $3.50 on average in the U.S., while a pound of stew beef cost $4.30. What will they cost under hyperinflation?

The elderly are also increasingly victimized — a whopping 25% of elderly Americans are considered to be poor. Parramore cites the work of political scientist Kenneth Thomas, who reports that the U.S. has the dubious distinction of having the highest elder poverty rate of any industrialized nation larger than Ireland! An increasing number of Americans are entering poverty in old age. The percentage of Americans ages 75 to 84 new to poverty doubled in 2009 from the 2005 figure.