13 Sep 2011 02:30 PM EST
-by Alex Mangini, Staff Writer; Image: American poverty reaches an all-time high (Image Source: AMPUTD.com)
Data has shown that the number of Americans living in poverty rose to a record 46.2 million last year, reports the BBC.
This comes just a week after President Obama launched a new job plan to try to combat the lingering unemployment problem in the U.S.
This is the highest figure since the US Census Bureau started collecting the data in 1959, according to the BBC.
In percentage terms, the poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, making it four consecutive years that the rate has increased. It is now at its highest level since 1993.
The United States defines poverty as “an annual income of $22,314 or less for a family of four and $11,139 for a single person.”
Poverty among African-American and Hispanic populations was much higher than for the overall US population last year, the figures also showed.
The Census Bureau data said 25.8 percent of black people were living in poverty and 25.3 percent of Hispanic people.
The average annual US household income fell 2.3 percent in 2010 to $49,445.
The number of Americans without health insurance remained about 50 million, while the US unemployment rate remains above 9 percent.