US & Canada

US poverty rate unchanged even as incomes fall

A homeless man protects himself from the rain on a bench near the White House in Washington on 14 May 2012
Image caption A homeless man protects himself from the rain near the White House

The percentage of Americans living in poverty is statistically unchanged from 2010's record high, even as household income fell, a US Census report says.

The poverty rate was 15% in 2011, meaning 46.2 million Americans were in poverty, staying flat after three previous years of increases.

Real median income of households in the country dropped by 1.5%.

The average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2011 was $23,021 (£14,300).

Income inequality, as measured by the Gini index, increased by 1.6% in 2011, the first time there has been an annual rise in the index since 1993.

The percentage of Americans lacking health insurance fell to 15.7% from 16.3%, the report also said.

Poverty in the US reached a record high in 2010, at 15.1%.

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