US poverty rate unchanged; record numbers persist
WASHINGTON — The ranks of America's poor remained stuck at record levels, although dwindling unemployment benefits and modest job gains helped stave off what experts had predicted would be the fourth rise in a row in the poverty rate.
With joblessness persistently high, the gap between rich and poor increased in the last year, according to two major census measures. Also, the median, or midpoint, household income was $50,054, 1.5 percent lower than 2010 and a second straight decline.
A Census Bureau report released Wednesday provides a mixed picture of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2011, when the unemployment rate improved to 8.9 percent from 9.6 percent in the previous year. The numbers are coming out not long before the Nov. 6 election in which the economy is the No. 1 issue and President Barack Obama is trying to make the case that the labor market, while not fully healed, is on the right track.
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