National Poverty Rate Climbs to Record 46 Million Americans

Homeless and needy people line up to receive bottles of cold water from a Salvation Army disaster relief truck in Kansas City, Missouri August 1, 2011. REUTERS/Dave Kaup

While the economic recession may have formally ended in June 2009, families across America are continuing their struggle to recover. The U.S. Census Bureau announced in a new report today that the portion of Americans living in poverty in 2010 climbed to 46.2 million people, representing 15.1 percent of the country at the highest level since 1993. That’s 1 in 6 people living below the poverty line of just $22,113 a year for a family of four.

The Salvation Army has witnessed this increased need first-hand while serving communities throughout the nation. We reported in our “Feeding the Need 2011” food survey earlier this year that 94 percent of Salvation Army food service programs saw an increase in demand for food assistance in 2010. In addition, nearly 60 percent of Salvation Army programs saw donations remain flat or decline from all funding sources, including government, public and private sectors. The Salvation Army in Auburn, CA, for instance, has said it may have to start turning those in need away if its resources continue to decline.

With record numbers of Americans living in poverty, it’s more important than ever to help those who are struggling to make ends meet. Donors and volunteers can learn more about supporting The Salvation Army by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org – enter your ZIP code and contact your local program for volunteer opportunities in your area.