The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, its highest level since 1993. About 46.2 million people are considered in need.
The government defines the poverty line as income of $22,314 a year for a family of four and $11,139 for an individual. The Office of Management and Budget updates the poverty line each year to account for inflation.
As for middle-class American families, income fell in 2010. The median household income was $49,445, down slightly from $49,777 the year before.