The U.S. poverty rate rose to 14.3 percent in 2009—the highest it’s been since 1994. Also, the 43.6 million Americans in need is the highest number in 51 years of record-keeping. The OMB draws the poverty line at less than $21,954 in income for a family of four. The South is the poorest part of the country, with a rate of 15.7 percent; in the Northeast, the rate is 12.2 percent.
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