The Bottom Line On Those Poverty Numbers

Q: The U.S. Census Bureau last week released twin reports showing a rise in U.S. poverty. Was this a surprise?

A: On one level, no. One study showed a .4% increase in the number of impoverished Americans in 2001 over the year before, the first rise since 1993. The second recorded a 2.2% decrease in the median U.S. income, to $42,228. Hardly surprising. When there's a recession, people lose jobs, and incomes fall. But behind the numbers were some peculiarities that show how the country has changed--and how it hasn't. The reports show an increase in the number of non-Hispanic...

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