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Poverty rising

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Seventeen states showed increases in the number of people living in poverty between 2010 and 2011, according to Census Bureau data reported by USA Today.

Vermont’s poverty numbers decreased while the other 32 states stayed the same. The national poverty rate has remained steady at 15.9 percent, but some geographic areas are growing more impoverished.

Fourteen states showed increases in the number of children living in poverty and saw more people sink into “deep poverty” — having income 50 percent below the poverty line of $23,050 for a family of four.

“The problem is high unemployment,” said Chuck Sheketoff of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. “People are not gainfully employed. They are laid off. They are minimum-wage workers.”

Many people have exhausted their unemployment insurance, sinking deeper into poverty. What is a personal crisis for the long-term unemployed is also a national crisis.

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