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Census: D.C. Has Third-Highest Poverty Rate

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Poverty is more endemic than ever before, and D.C. owns the third-highest rate of poverty in the country.
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Poverty is more endemic than ever before, and D.C. owns the third-highest rate of poverty in the country.

The rate of poverty in the U.S has climbed to its highest level in more than 20 years, according to numbers released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday.

According to the report, the poverty rate in the country rose to 15.1 percent. That’s 46 million people in the U.S. living at or below the poverty line. It’s also the largest total number since the bureau started tracking poverty in 1959.

Even worse, the poverty rate in D.C. ranks third in the nation at 19.9 percent, behind only Mississippi and Louisiana.

Bill Shore, Director of Share our Strength -- a non-profit dedicated to ending poverty -- says it might be a sign of trouble.

“I think the D.C. region has been hit even harder than the national average," says Shore. "We’re up to 29 percent -- that's a very significant number. We've almost got to a tipping point where we’ve got to make sure that, even if you can’t create more jobs, at least the safety net is strong.”

Figures also show the number of people without healthcare coverage grew over the previous year.

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