WASHINGTON – New census information paints a stark portrait of the nation's haves and have-nots with the ranks of America's poorest poor reaching further into mainstream America.
The poorest Americans have now reached a record high 1 in 15 people, spread widely across metropolitan areas as the housing bust pushed many inner-city poor into suburbs and other outlying places and shriveled jobs and income.
The new information comes a week before the government releases first-ever economic data that will show more Hispanics, elderly and working-age poor have fallen into poverty.
Once-booming Sun Belt metro areas are now seeing some of the biggest jumps in concentrated poverty.
About 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, people at 50 percent or less of the official poverty level. They're about half the 46.2 million people living somewhere below the poverty line.