Below The Line

For a decade, the ranks of the poor have been rising. Debunking myths about poverty in America could help change that

Joakim Eskildsen for TIME

Spirit Grass, 13, is part of a family of six in Thunder Butte, S.D., who until recently survived on $3,500 a year.

THERE IS NO SINGLE ARCHETYPE OF AMERICA'S POOR.

They are low-wage workers, single mothers, disabled veterans, the elderly, immigrants, marginalized factory workers, the severely mentally ill, the formerly incarcerated, the undereducated and the fallen middle class. They live in Appalachia and the inner city and the wealthiest suburbs.

And they are growing in number. The poverty line is set at an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four. Last year, 46.2 million Americans lived below it, the most since the U.S. Census Bureau began keeping track in 1959....

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