US poor now number 49 million; wealth gap between young & old at record highs

US Poor Now Number 49 Million, Wealth Gap Between Young and Old Reaches Record Highs
By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, AlterNet
Posted on November 7, 2011, Printed on November 7, 2011

Wealth disparity in America is becoming ever more prevalent, according to Census data and analysis done by Pew Research Center—and we’re reaching record highs. First, new Census data from 2010 determined the amount of Americans living in poverty is up to 49.1 million—up 3 million from September’s official poverty measure—meaning that 16 percent of Americans are living in poverty, with a newly raised poverty line of $24,343 for a family of two adults and two children.

Second: the wealth gap between the young and old has increased dramatically, reaching its own record highs. According to Pew analysis, households headed by those 65 or older are a whopping 47 times richer than households headed by those 35 and under. The net income of younger Americans has declined 68% since 1984, while that of older Americans has actually increased by 42%. So what’s to blame? Exactly what the 99% percent are protesting: the housing bubble, bad mortgages, crippling student loans, and other disproportionate burdens placed upon the young by the country’s biggest banks. CNN Money:

“Most of today’s older homeowners got into the housing market long ago, at ‘pre-bubble’ prices,” the report said. “Along with everyone else, they’ve been hurt by the housing market collapse of recent years, but over the long haul, most have seen their home equities rise.”

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