Poverty Nears 5-Decade High

    In this July 16, 2012, photo, Laura Fritz, 27, left, with her daughter Adalade Goudeseune fills out a form at the Jefferson Action Center, an assistance center in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. Both Fritz grew up in the Denver suburbs a solidly middle class family, but she and her boyfriend, who has struggled to find work, and are now relying on government assistance to cover food and $650 rent for their family. The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

    Kristen Wyatt / AP Photo

    A different kind of tide is rising. The number of American poor is set to hit levels not seen since the 1960s, according to experts. Official 2011 census numbers are due to be released in the fall. Middle-class Americans have been sucked down despite gains made over the past generation as the job market has failed to improve for many. “I grew up going to Hawaii every summer,” said one 27-year-old Colorado resident. “Now I’m here, applying for assistance, because it’s hard to make ends meet. It’s very hard to adjust.” Some experts predict that poverty rate stands to rise as much as 15.7 percent when official figures are released.

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