Number of Americans living in poverty ‘increases by 4m’

One in seven Americans was living in poverty in 2009 with the level of working-age poor the highest since the 1960s, the US Census Bureau says.

The number of people in poverty increased by nearly 4m – to 43.6m – between 2008 and 2009, officials said.

The bureau defines poverty as any family of four living on less than $21,954 a year.

Meanwhile, new figures showed home foreclosures in August hit the highest level since the mortgage crisis began.

Banks repossessed 95,364 properties in August, up 3% from July and an increase of 25% from August 2009, said RealtyTrac, a company which charts the national picture.

The official US poverty rate in 2009 rose to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008. In 2009, 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty, up from 39.8 million the year before, the third consecutive increase, the bureau said.

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