The Lost Decade: 46 Million People Living in Poverty!

Dear Commons Community,

The U.S. Census Bureau reported yesterday that the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people (15.1% of the population), was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it.    A   NY Times article quoted Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economics professor, that this was the first time since the Great Depression that median household income, adjusted for inflation, had not risen over such a long period.  Katz is quoted as saying:

“This is truly a lost decade…We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”

The poverty line in 2010 was defined as a family of four with an income of less than $22,314.

The saddest news is that there is no indication that the economy will be any better in the immediate future.






  1. Yes, this was so disturbing to read. And it is not foreign to CUNY. Barbara Bowen, PSC president, recently stated that 38% of all CUNY undergraduates and 45% of all community college students come from households earning less than $20,000 per year. Labor unions and public education have lifted more people out of poverty that any other institutions which is, of course, why we must fight hard to preserve CUNY, and keep it an affordable public university.