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Could You Live on $2 a Day? Lots of Americans Do – Dollars and Sense

castano, Flickr

There are a lot of celebrities that won’t get out of bed for less than a quarter of a million dollars, but a lot more Americans are surviving on much, much less.

According to the World Bank, one of the main indicators of poverty in developing nations is how many people are living on less than $2 a day. And sadly, the number of Americans somehow getting by on that paltry amount has boomed in the past 15 years.

The National Poverty Center reports there are currently 1.5 million US families — and 2.8 million children — living in extreme poverty, representing a 130 percent surge between 1996 and 2011.

Food stamps are often touted as something that helps families pull themselves out of poverty, and the data backs that up. If they were counted as income, the number of the poverty-stricken households would be significantly lower: 800,000, an increase of 67 percent over the past 15 years.

Demographically, nearly half of the households in which each person lives on less than $2 a day are white, but the largest growth occurred in families headed by blacks and Hispanics — the latest data shows a quarter are black and 22 percent are Hispanic. Overall, just over half were headed up by a single woman, while a third were run by a married couple.

[CNN Money]

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