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Poverty Facts

Compiled By Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign's Educational Arm, The University of the Poor

 

POVERTY

34.6 million people in America, including 12.1 million children, live below the federal threshold for Poverty.

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, poverty rate rose to 12.1% in 2002 from 11.7% in 2001, adding 1.7 million to the ranks of the poor. The number of poor grew to 34.6 million people last year, including 12.1 million children.

 

HUNGER

13 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet.   That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger.

 

HOMELESSNESS

There are 3.5 million homeless people in
the United States

 

Approximately 33% of homeless men are veterans, although veterans comprise only 23% of general adult population. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that on any given night, 299,321 veterans are homeless.

 

The average age of a homeless person is 9 years old. The majority of homeless adults work.

 

LIVING WAGE JOBS

Sixty percent of all U.S. jobs created since 1979 pay less than $7,000 a year.   28.6% of all full-time, year-round workers are earning poverty level wages or less.

 

Between 1989 and 1999, 75% of the American workforce saw its real income drop.

 

HEALTHCARE

Almost 44 million people in the U.S. are totally uninsured, and an additional 40 million are uninsured during some part of every year.   Another 80 million are only partially covered. Most people who don't have healthcare insurance have full time jobs.

 

18,000 people die in the United States each year because they lack medical care.

 

A major problem for low-income and elderly people is the cost of prescription drugs. But while Lipitor, the leading drug to treat high cholesterol costs consumers $272.37 for 100 tablets, the cost of the general active ingredients for those 100 pills is $5.80. That makes the percent markup 4,696%.

 

WEALTH

Wealth has become more concentrated in recent years than at any time since the Great Depression. The richest 1 percent of Americans have an average net worth of $5.5 million. The bottom 5 percent average $2000. Microsoft's Bill Gates has assets worth more than 44 percent of American families' assets combined. The richest 1% of the population in the United States owns 47.2% of the wealth, the next richest 9% owns 35.8%, and the bottom 90% owns 17.1% of the wealth.

For more information visit The University Of The Poor's website at www.universityofthepoor.org

Direct your comments to politics@geoclan.com


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