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Four Out of Five Adult Americans Face Poverty, Joblessness

So much for the American dream. Based on new survey data released exclusively by The Associated Press, it appears that economic insecurity is becoming the new norm in the U.S.

In what is yet another dismal and disparaging sign of the U.S. economy’s state, roughly 80 percent of Americans will face unemployment or near-poverty in their lifetime, according to the AP-GkF poll. The data pointed to a widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S.–a chasm that, not surprisingly, has grown during the country’s recession–as one of the reasons for the trend.

“It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,” said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who is an expert on race and poverty.

The Associated Press via The Huffington Post:

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

…Higher recent rates of unemployment mean the lifetime risk of experiencing economic insecurity now runs even higher: 79 percent, or 4 in 5 adults, by the time they turn 60.

By race, nonwhites still have a higher risk of being economically insecure, at 90 percent. But compared with the official poverty rate, some of the biggest jumps under the newer measure are among whites, with more than 76 percent enduring periods of joblessness, life on welfare or near-poverty.

By 2030, based on the current trend of widening income inequality, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity.

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— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

Tracy Bloom
Assistant Editor
Tracy Bloom left broadcast news to study at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. There she eventually became deputy editor of Neon Tommy, the most-trafficked online-only college website in…
Tracy Bloom

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