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Census Bureau says 15.7 percent in poverty

  |   Jan. 6, 2011 at 8:19 AM
WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Using an expanded definition of poverty, the U.S. Census Bureau said it determined that 15.7 percent of Americans -- 47.8 million -- live in poverty.

Census researchers said data released Wednesday are part of an evolving method of determining how poverty is evaluated by population researchers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Included in the new calculation are factors such as family and medical expenses, as well as government subsidies, researchers said. The definition of poverty for families generally ranges from $21,000 to $25,000 annually.

Census Bureau researcher Kathleen Short, the report's author, wrote the "new group of poor would consist of a larger population of elderly people, working families and married-couple families than are identified in the official poverty measure."

In September, the bureau announced the 14.3 percent poverty rate was figured using a method developed in the 1960s. Researchers said the higher figure released Wednesday doesn't mean the rate grew, just that the two figures were reached using separate equations, the Times reported.

People older than 65 and younger than 15 accounted for the rate of poverty being higher, researchers said. Wednesday's report said 18 percent of children and 16.1 percent of the elderly live in poverty.

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