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US poverty rate hits 11-year-high - Ananya - 09-11-2009

Washington - An extra 2.5 million people were nudged into poverty in the United States in 2008, bringing the poverty rate to an 11-year high as a deep recession began to take hold in the country, the US Census Bureau reported Thursday.

The poverty rate climbed to 13.2 per cent, or 39.8 million people, from 12.5 per cent in 2007. It marked the first annual increase in four years.

The survey also found that median household income dropped 3.6 per cent over the same stretch to 50,303 dollars per year in 2008. The United States has been mired since December 2007 in its worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Most relevant to an ongoing debate over health care reform in Congress, the survey found that 46.3 million people lacked health insurance in the United States - up from 45.7 million in 2007. dpa