Extreme Poverty In The U.S. Has Doubled In The Last 15 Years

Pat Garofalo
March 9, 2012

According to the latest Census Bureau data, nearly 50 percent of Americans are either low-income or living in poverty in the wake of the Great Recession. And a new study from the National Poverty Center shows just how deep in poverty some of those people are, finding that the number of households living on less than $2 per day (before government benefits) has more than doubled in the last 15 years:

The number of U.S. households living on less than $2 per person per day — which the study terms “extreme poverty” — more than doubled between 1996 and 2011, from 636,000 to 1.46 million, the study finds. The number of children in extremely poor households also doubled, from 1.4 million to 2.8 million.


While extreme poverty doubled overall, it tripled amongst female headed households. Of course, there’s always the tact taken North Carolina Republican State Representative George Cleveland last week, who simply denied that anyone in his state lives in extreme poverty. As we noted at the time, “the 728,842 North Carolinians who are classified as living in deep poverty might take issue with that assessment.”


Find the full National Poverty Center report, Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996-2011.

This material [article] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.



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Well, with the cost of living yawals rising and wages pretty much not, it becomes over the course of time very difficult to live off $1.50 a day, given for example the fact that in London, Ontario, and other major Canadian cities, an adult cash fare bus ticket is $2.75 cents one way. Also staples for a healthy diet namely fruit and vegetables and other expenses such as gas, hydro, coffee, clothing and basically almost everything else have recently been reported in the news as having increased quite dramatically and over a short time in their price . BUT it is possible to recycle coffee grounds and of course, we cannot forget the advice we received a number of years back to tighten our belts and to not complain about but to rather eat the dinted cans of tuna and be happy to have these things. I suppose we are pretty much in the lap of luxury though compared to those people who must walk for miles just for putrid water, so I guess poverty and hardship are all a matter of our perspective and what we are used to or what we consider acceptable standards of living ourselves and others on this planet we must all share.This is an acceptable and rational answer, but damn it, why is everything getting so darn expensive!?!!!!