By Peter Schroeder - 09/13/11 02:40 PM EDT
More Americans were living below the poverty line in 2010 than at any other recorded point in American history, new government data show.
In the first full year after the recession that ran from 2007 to 2009, 46.2 million people fell below the poverty line. That marks the fourth straight year of increases, and the highest number recorded by the government in 52 years of collecting data, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.
The new data reveal just how hard Americans were hit by the latest recession, as the economy still struggles to recover from it.
Generally, Americans across the board felt the impact of the recession, as the median household income in the United States fell by 2.3 percent to $49,445.
The number of Americans without health insurance also grew slightly in 2010 to 49.9 million, up from 49 million in 2009.
Blacks and Hispanics were hit particularly hard by the recession. The level of blacks living in poverty climbed by 1.6 percent, and Hispanics by 1.3 percent. In comparison, the white poverty rate grew by 0.7 percent, and the Asian poverty rate actually fell by 0.4 percent.
Geographically, the South was hit hardest in 2010, as its poverty rate climbed by 1.2 percent — twice the rate of any other region in the country.