About 50 million Americans live below the poverty line, which the federal government defined in 2013 as an annual income of $23,550 for a family of four.
In 2010, 15.1 percent of all persons lived in poverty. The poverty rate in 2010 was the highest poverty rate since 1993. Between 1993 and 2000, the poverty rate fell each year, reaching 11.3 percent in 2000. In the late 1950s, the poverty rate for all Americans was 22.4 percent, or 39.5 million individuals.