StateStats: A Snapshot of Poverty in America: March 2011 

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If you earned more than $50,221 in 2009, you made more than America’s real median household income, according to new figures from the Census Bureau. That’s about the same as in 2008.

The nation’s official poverty rate, however, did increase in 2009, to 14.3 percent. That is the highest since 1994, and the second statistically significant annual increase since 2004. In 2009, 43.6 million people were living in poverty, up from 39.8 million in 2008.
People living in extreme poverty were the fastest growing income group in America. They have incomes below 50 percent of the poverty threshold, and their numbers increased by more than 2.1 million, to 18.8 million people, according to a report by the Southern Education Foundation.

The Census Bureau, however, recently released eight new (and complex) ways of measuring poverty that show different results. Under these calculations, the poverty rates in 2009 were anywhere from 12.8 percent to 17.1 percent.