Fuller Picture of Poverty: 49.7 Million Poor People in US

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By Aaron Hepker

WASHINGTON (AP) — A different way of calculating America's poor by taking into account medical costs and work-related expenses finds a higher total than the government's official count.

This measure is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty. It found there are 49.7 million poor people in the country — or 16.1 percent of the population. That compares with the 46.2 million, or 15 percent, as reported in September in the Census Bureau's official count.

According to the newly developed measure, those more likely to live in poverty are people 65 or older, urbanites and Hispanics — the result of medical expenses and higher living costs in cities.

California had the highest share of poor people, followed by Arizona and Florida. In the official tally, it's Mississippi, New Mexico and Arizona.

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