Poverty rate jumps for the first time since '04

Poverty in the West and the Midwest jumped in 2008, while levels in the South and Northeast held steady, Census report says. National rate rises to 13.2%.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com staff reporter

Job cuts on Main Street
Small companies account for more than 40% of the nation's payroll - and as the economy worsens, their staffing cuts reverberate through local communities.
How has Wall Street responded to last year's collapse of Lehman Brothers?
  • Made significant changes
  • Some reform, but more needed
  • Business as usual
  • It's gotten worse

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The poverty rate rose last year to 13.2%, the highest level since 1997, said a report released Thursday.

That marks the first statistically significant annual increase since 2004, according to the annual Census Bureau report "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008."

Last year, 39.8 million people lived below the poverty level, which is $22,025 for a family of four, according to the Office of Management and Budget. That's up 3.9% from 2007, when 37.3 million people lived in poverty.

Regional changes. The West had 9.6 million people living in poverty in 2008, which represents 13.5% of that region's population, up from a rate of 12% in 2007.

The Midwest had 8.1 million people living below the poverty line in 2008, which is a rate of 12.4%, up from 11.1% in 2007.

"Unfortunately, the regional numbers make perfect sense," said Heidi Shierholz, labor market economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

"The West was very hard hit by the housing bubble, and the industrial Midwest states are suffering in the manufacturing sector."

The poverty rates for the Northeast (11.6%) and the South (14.3%) were both statistically unchanged from 2007.

State-by-state. New Mexico had the highest poverty rate of any state-- 19.3% -- followed by Louisiana (18.2%), Mississippi (18.1%), Arizona (18%) and Kentucky (17.1%).

At 7% New Hampshire had the nation's lowest poverty rate, followed by Utah (7.6%), Connecticut (8.1%), Alaska (8.2%) and Maryland (8.7%). To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Criminal's muscle car collection auctioned for $2.5 million These valuable classic muscle cars were seized as part of a money laundering plea deal. More
Ferrari 458 Speciale - Raw speed This bare-bones Italian supercar drops pretty much everything not needed for driving fast. More
America's most dangerous jobs America's workplace got safer last year. But these workers were still at a much higher risk of fatal injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.