It’s a vicious circle: Millions of job cuts and shrinking household incomes combined to push more Americans below the poverty line last year. Nearly 40 million Americans now officially live in poverty.

Los Angeles Times:

Showing the scars of the deep recession last year, the nation’s poverty level jumped to an 11-year high, household incomes sank and the number of people without health insurance rose slightly to 46.3 million, the government reported today.

The Census Bureau said that median household incomes fell 3.6% from 2007 to $50,303 last year. That was the biggest decline since 1991 and represented millions of job cuts by employers in 2008.

The ranks of people without medical coverage, which increased from 45.7 million in 2007, were expected to have risen more sharply last year. But the overall number was lowered by expanding government safety-net programs and rising Medicare enrollment, which is driven by aging baby boomers. The number of uninsured children fell to 7.3 million from 8.1 million in 2007.

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