According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate has escalated from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009. Last year, 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty; that figure increased nearly 4 million, compared to 2008.

“This is the largest number of officially impoverished Americans in the 51 years the government has kept track of poverty levels, and the highest percentage since 1994,” wrote Joseph Shaman, a senior correspondent for AOL news.

While it is shocking to know that one in seven Americans is living in poverty, it is even more troubling to see that as in the past, the numbers of minorities impacted is significantly higher.
The percentage of Whites living in poverty rose from 8.6 percent to 9.4 percent however, the percentage of Blacks and Hispanics living in poverty is three times higher. The percentage of Hispanics living in poverty increased from 23.2 to 25.3 percent and the percentage of African Americans living in poverty jumped from 24.7 to 25.8 percent in 2009.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession that started in 2007, came to an end in June 2009. During that period more than 8 million people lost their jobs in what is being described as the longest economic downturn since the great depression, and many are still losing their jobs. That does not take into account how hard it is to find a full-time job.

The recession may have ended for wealthy families but for the not-so-fortunate, the recession is still in sight. It is scary to know that many of my friends, who recently graduated from a four-year university, are not able to find a full-time job. This does not only make me nervous but it also makes me aware that, if a person with a bachelor’s degree can’t find a job, where is the hope for those who don’t posses such a degree. This is especially a more difficult task for Californian’s because the state is facing a $19 billion dollar debt, and Gov. Schwarzenegger and the legislature have not yet passed the budget, 82 days past the deadline.

Our economy is in a hole and so are millions of Americans, but if the U.S. economy is somehow surviving and has survived after many past recessions, I believe that the American people can survive as well, despite the harsh statistics.

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