A Profile of the Working Poor, 2010

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Report 1035, March 2012

In 2010, according to the Census Bureau, about 46.2 million people, or 15.1 percent of the nation’s population, lived below the official poverty level. Although the poor were primarily children and adults who had not participated in the labor force during the year, 10.5 million individuals were among the “working poor” in 2010; this measure was little changed from 2009. The working poor are persons who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (that is, working or looking for work) but whose incomes still
fell below the official poverty level. In 2010, the working-poor rate–the ratio of the working poor to all individuals in the labor force for at least 27 weeks–was 7.2 percent, also little different from the previous year’s figure (7.0 percent).

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