Census: 1 in 6 Americans Live in Poverty

The U.S. poverty rate is much higher than official figures and adds 3 million citizens to those living below the poverty line. 

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Volunteers pack bags of rice at the San Francisco Food Bank in California. 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There are more poor people living in the United States than the official numbers detail, a revised census measure shows, according to the Associated Press.

According to the new measure, which attempts to provide a fuller picture of poverty, there are 3 million more poor people in the U.S. than the official figures show, making the tally now 1 in 6 people living below the poverty line. 

The measure does not replace official figures but is considered more reliable because it takes into consideration living expenses and government aid, the AP notes.

These considerations show a spike in poverty numbers for Hispanics and Asian Americans, since immigrants and non-English speakers tend not to participate as much in safety-net programs like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but a decrease in numbers for African Americans, who are more likely than the other groups to be helped out by the government, according to the AP.

If it replaced the official formula, states would likely be given more federal money for safety-net programs. Of course, for that to happen, Congress would have to agree with it.

"This is a real incongruity, when 1 in 6 people face economic insecurity here in the richest country in the world," Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz told the AP.

Stiglitz, who is also the former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has been a strong advocate for government aid to help decrease income inequality. "When so many citizens are worse off year after year, with food insecurity and health care insecurity, there's no way you can say that's a successful economy," he added. 

Read more at the Daily News

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