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More than One Third of Recent High School Dropouts Living in Poverty

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May 26, 2010 09:56 pm


High school dropouts aged 25 to 34 years old were twice as likely to be living below the poverty line in 2008, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The report, Poverty in the United States: 2008, finds that 34.7 percent of 25-34 year olds without a high school diploma were living in poverty in 2008, compared to 16.7 percent of individuals whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma. Conversely, only 4.4 percent of individuals aged 25-34 with at least a bachelor’s degree were considered poor.

Among children, 13.5 million children (18.5 percent) were poor, up from 12.8 million (17.6 percent) in 2007. Among minority children, more than one third of black children (34.4 percent) were poor, compared to 30.3 percent of Hispanic children, and 10 percent of white children.

The report notes that the Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds reflect “crude estimates of the amount of money individuals or families, of various size and composition, need per year to purchase a basket of goods and services deemed as ‘minimally adequate,’ according to the living standards of the early 1960s. Thresholds are updated each year for changes in consumer prices. In 2008, the average poverty threshold for an individual living alone was $10,991; for a two-person family, $14,051; and for a family of four, $22,025, or about $425 per week.

According to the report, 39.8 million people were counted as poor in the United States-an increase of 2.6 million persons from 2007, and nearly the largest number of persons counted as poor since 1960. It found that 13.2 percent of the population was considered poor in 2008, an increase of 0.7 percent in 2007, and the highest rate since 1997. The report attributed the increase to the worsening of economic conditions since the onset of the economic recession in December 2007 and noted that poverty is expected to rise further next year and will likely remain comparatively high even after the economy begins to recover.

Hat Tip: Economix


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