Graphic: The New York Times / Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Can you be living on the edge of poverty if you earn more than $50,000 a year? Yes, you can ... if you live in Silicon Valley.
A new and very surprising analysis by The Census Bureau reveals that 100 million people - yes, one in three Americans - live either in poverty or just above it.
Jason DeParle, Robert Gebeloff, and Sabrina Tavernise of The New York Times wrote this intriguing article about America's "near poor":
They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by.
Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called “near poor” and sometimes simply overlooked — and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood.
When the Census Bureau this month released a new measure of poverty, meant to better count disposable income, it began altering the portrait of national need. Perhaps the most startling differences between the old measure and the new involves data the government has not yet published, showing 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people — one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it.
One worker profiled by The New York Times summarizes her situation with crystal clear clarity:
“Living paycheck to paycheck,” is how she describes her survival strategy. “One bad bill will wipe you out.”