Poverty in America

Associated Press
In this Sept. 15, 2011 photo, Bill Ricker, 74, sits at the kitchen table of his trailer home, in Hartford, Maine. Ricker, who has two college degrees, was injured in the late 1980s and hasn't worked since. Now he receives food stamps and heating fuel assistance and gets donations from a local food pantry. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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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.

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