Some data for one of libraries’ core missions to bridge divides and create equity of access:
CRS — Poverty in the United States: 2012
Poverty in the United States: 2012 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
In 2012, 46.5 million people were counted as poor in the United States—the number, statistically unchanged over the past three years, is the largest recorded in the measure’s 54-year history. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 15.0% in 2012, a level statistically unchanged from the two previous years. The 2012 poverty rate of 15.0% is well above its most recent pre-recession low of 12.3% (2006) and remains at a level not last seen since 1993. Poverty in the United States increased markedly from 2007 through 2010, in tandem with the economic recession (officially marked as running from December 2007 to June 2009). Little if any improvement in the level of “official” U.S. poverty has been seen since the recession’s official end, with the poverty rate remaining at about 15% for the past three years. Some analysts expect U.S. poverty to remain above pre-recession levels through much, if not most, of the remainder of the decade, given the slow pace of economic recovery. The pre-recession poverty rate of 12.3% in 2006 was well above the 2000 rate of 11.3%, which marked an historical low (a rate statistically tied with the previous historical low of 11.1% in 1973).
The incidence of poverty varies widely across the population according to age, education, labor force attachment, family living arrangements, and area of residence, among other factors. Under the official poverty definition, an average family of four was considered poor in 2012 if its pretax cash income for the year was below $23,492.”