Number of Americans Living in Poverty Reaches All-Time High

Report finds the South to be the worst-fairing region.

Posted: 11/03/2011 10:51 PM EDT

There were 46.2 million people living in poverty in 2010, which marks a four-year high and the highest number ever recorded, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau.


Across multiple ethnic groups, America's poorest continued to grow over the past two years. In 2010, 10.7 million African-Americans were reported as the poorest of the poor, up from 9.9 million in 2009. The number of Latinos living in poverty increased to 13.2 million in 2010 from 12.4 million. Whites accounted for 19.6 million people in 2010, an increase from 18.5 million the previous year. Asians reported no change in the number living in poverty (1.7 million) between 2009 and 2010.


Regionally, the South was the only region to show significant increases in both the poverty rate and the number of people living in poverty — 16.9 percent and 19.1 million in 2010 — up from 15.7 percent and 17.6 million in 2009. In 2010, the poverty rates and the number of people living in poverty for the Northeast (12.8 percent and 7.0 million), the Midwest (13.9 percent and 9.1 million), and the West (15.3 percent and 11.0 million) showed no change from 2009.