Poverty in America

Associated Press
In this July 16, 2012, photo, Laura Fritz, 27, left, with her daughter Adalade Goudeseune fills out a form at the Jefferson Action Center, an assistance center in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. Both Fritz grew up in the Denver suburbs a solidly middle class family, but she and her boyfriend, who has struggled to find work, and are now relying on government assistance to cover food and $650 rent for their family. The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

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New Census Bureau data shows nearly 16 percent of Americans live below the poverty line— a record 49.1 million people. Though the labor market has struggled to gain traction in recent months, the ranks of America's poor continue to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s.