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Rhode Island had the biggest increase in its poverty rate among the New England states, with 133,000 Ocean State residents now living in poverty, according to U.S. Census data released yesterday.
The poverty rate increased from 10 percent in 2006 and 2007 to 12.9 percent during 2008 and 2009. Over 28,000 Rhode Islanders sunk below the poverty line as the state was faced with one of the worst economic crises in decades. Nationwide, the number of Americans living in poverty in 2009 was 43.6 million - the largest ever in the 51 years that records have been kept. The national poverty rate shot up from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009.
In 2009, an individual was below the poverty line if his income was $10,952 or less. For a family of four, the threshold was $21,947.
“In the coming year, policymakers must do all that they can to help struggling Rhode Islanders who continue to weather the economic storm. This means keeping our unemployment insurance benefits and RIte Care health insurance coverage intact. Modest expansions to investments in child care assistance and the state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit would also provide an important boost to families waiting for wages to rebound,” said Kate Brewster, executive director of The Poverty Institute.
looking at this and knowing the situation in my own state, this almost outrages me. Being a small state we are usually looked down upon in more ways then one, and now everyone knows that we do exist and we have problems too... there needs to be an increase in help, before Rhode Island becomes something of the past...