Census Surprised by Rising 'Near Poor'

    READING, PA - OCTOBER 19:  People wait in line at the Central Park United Methodist Church weekly food pantry on October 19, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The church feeds thousands of needy Reading residents monthly and relies on donations and volunteers to keep its increasingly popular programs operating. Reading, a city that once boasted numerous industries and the nation's largest railroad company, has recently been named America's poorest city with residents over 65,000. According to new census data, 41.3 percent of people live below the poverty line in Reading. Reading has about 90,000 residents, many of whom are recent Hispanic arrivals who have moved from larger eastern cities over the past decade. While a manufacturing base offering well paying jobs still exists in Reading, many companies like Hershey, Stanley Tool and Dana Systems have either moved elsewhere in the United States or to Mexico in search of cheaper labor. The number of people living in poverty in America, 46.2 million, is now at its highest level for the 52 years the Census Bureau has been keeping records.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    Spencer Platt / Getty Images

    One in three Americans is in poverty or just above it, according to census data to be released Monday. The new report, calculated at the request of The New York Times, accounts for people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line—another 51 million people, for a total of 100 million barely scraping by or not able to at all. “These numbers are higher than we anticipated,” says the bureau's chief poverty statistician. Forty-nine percent of the near poor live in the suburbs, nearly half are non-Hispanic white, 18 percent are black, and 26 percent are Latino. Twenty-eight percent work full-time, year round.

    Read it at The New York Times