Home » Economists predict poverty rate to rise to highest level since 1965

Economists predict poverty rate to rise to highest level since 1965

By Lorie Hailey
Associate Editor

WASHINGTON (July 23, 2012) — Economists predict the official U.S. poverty rate will rise to 15.7 percent when the 2011 figures are released in November, the highest level since 1965.

The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings. All predicted a rate high enough to match or surpass the 1965 level.

The U.S. poverty rate was 15.1 percent in 2010, the highest since 1993 and the third consecutive increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2007, the rate was 12.5 percent.

In Kentucky, individuals below the poverty line made up 17.4 percent of the population in 2010.

If the national poverty rate increases only by one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent, it will tie 1983’s poverty rate, which was the highest poverty rate since 1965, the AP reports.

The highest poverty rate on record — 22.4 percent — was measured in 1959.

The 2010 poverty level was $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for an individual, based on a government calculation that includes only cash income, before tax deductions, the AP said. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership, as well as non-cash aid such as food stamps and tax credits.

More than 46 million people were in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009.

Under the 2012 U.S. poverty guidelines, a family of four that makes less than $23,050 is considered impoverished.

Lorie Hailey may be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter — @loriehailey.