Poverty Rate Drops

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time since President Bush took office, there's been a significant drop in the nation's poverty rate.

The Census Bureau reports nearly 37 million Americans, or about 12.3 percent, were living in poverty last year. That's down from 12.6 percent in 2005.

Poverty level depends on income and family size. For a family of four, the poverty level is about $20,400 in household income.

A poverty expert says it was low unemployment that helped lower the poverty rate. But, he says the rate was slow to drop despite five years of economic growth.

Low-wage workers have been hurt by the nation's declining manufacturing sector, which has lost more than three million jobs since Bush took office.

The number of people without health insurance has increased to 47 million, and political scientists expect that debate will overshadow poverty in the presidential campaign.


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