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Census: Poverty in America rose in 2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The number of Americans in poverty was 3.8 million higher in 2009 than in the previous year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

The poverty rate was 14.3 percent last year, up from 13.2 percent in 2008, the second statistically significant hike in the poverty rate since 2004, the Census Bureau said. There were 43.6 million people in poverty in 2009, up from 39.8 million in 2008, the third straight annual increase.

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The family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty last year were 11.1 percent and 8.8 million, up from 10.3 percent and 8.1 million in 2008, the bureau said.

The poverty rate and the number of people living in poverty rose across all types of households, the bureau said.

The poverty rate in 2009 was the highest since 1994 but was 8.1 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, when poverty estimates were first available, Census Bureau statistics said.

Meanwhile, the number of people without health insurance rose from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009, statistics released by the Census Bureau said. The percentage increased from 15.4 percent to 16.7 percent for the same period.

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Between 2008 and 2009, the number of people with private health coverage dropped from 201 million to 194.5 million, while the number covered by government health plans rose from 87.4 million to 93.2 million, statistics indicated.

Census data also showed the number of people covered by insurance through their employers fell from 176.3 million to 169.7 million. Conversely, the number with Medicaid coverage rose from 42.6 million to 47.8 million.

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