The other side of the American dream - where poverty still exists

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U.S. Has Highest Poverty of Any OECD Country
When it comes to economic policy, politicians recently have been focused on appealing to issues concerning the ever-growing middle class. But many Americans tend to forget there is a significant fraction of the population that still has trouble making ends meet every day.

According to the most recent income report from the United States Census Bureau, 48 million Americans still live below the poverty line. Some states now hope to help combat this problem by pushing to increase minimum wage, but even that change won't solve all the persisting problems. In order to see how poverty in America has changed over time, genealogy data site MooseRoots crunched the numbers to find the most impoverished counties from 1980 to 2010.

Since 1980, the poverty threshold has been updated annually to reflect changing costs of living according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The current poverty threshold (as of 2010) for a family of four is $24,250. If this number seems absurdly low, it's because it is: the federal poverty measure was first introduced in the 60s, and hasn't been updated to reflect the consumption patterns of today's average family.

It's also important to note that those excluded from poverty statistics include people in military group quarters, students in college dorms, and children under 15 years. For more on the methodology, click here.
Virginia
Population: 8,100,653 Median Income: 309,17 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 11% Decrease in poverty from 1980-2010: -0.8%

Alabama
Population: 4,799,277 Median Income: 22,630 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 18.7% Decrease in poverty from 1980-2010: -0.8%

Alaska
Population: 720,316 Median Income: 30,061 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 9.6% Decrease in poverty from 1980-2010: -1.1%

Mississippi
Population: 2,976,872 Median Income: 20,815 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 22.3% Decrease in poverty from 1980-2010: -1.6%

South Dakota
Population: 825,198 Median Income: 25,971 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 13.8% Decrease in poverty from 1980-2010: -3.2%

Oregon
Population: 3,868,721 Median Income: 24,455 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 15.5% Increase in poverty from 1980-2010: 4.9%

Ohio
Population: 11,549,590 Median Income: 25,332 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 15.3% Increase in poverty from 1980-2010: 5%

Indiana
Population: 6,514,861 Median Income: 25,156 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 14.7% Increase in poverty from 1980-2010: 5.1% Nevada
Population: 2,730,066 Median Income: 26,271 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 14.2% Increase in poverty from 1980-2010: 5.5% Michigan
Population: 9,886,095 Median Income: 24,483 Population in below poverty line in 2010: 16.3% Increase in poverty from 1980-2010: 5.9%
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