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Poverty Rate Spikes

More than 46 million Americans lived in poverty last year, according to new census data released today. That's the largest number of poor Americans since the government began collecting  such data 52 years ago.

U.S. real median household income also fell last year, to $49,445 — a 2.3 percent drop from 2009. The data shows that households in the Midwest, South and West all experienced declines in real median income, while  income in the Northeast remained stable.

On Point has gone beyond the statistics and looked at the very real consequences poverty. At the beginning of the recession in 2009, we talked with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and took a look at the staggering number of Americans living on food stamps. We also spoke that year with Barbara Ehrenreich about lives lived around the poverty line. And just yesterday, we spoke with author Paul Osterman about the realities of low-wage work.

This program aired on September 13, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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