As we think about what we have to be thankful for this holiday season, it’s important to remember that millions of Americans are having trouble affording basic necessities. Below are the most current figures available in five important areas.
1.6 million people were homeless in 2009 and spent at least part of the year in a shelter; nearly 325,000 of them were children.
15 million people were unemployed as of October, 6 million of whom had been looking for work for more than half a year.
44 million people were poor in 2009, 19 million of whom had incomes below half of the poverty line (half of the poverty line corresponds to an income of $5,478 for an individual and $10,977 for a family of four).
50 million peoplelacked access to adequate food at some point in 2009 because they didn’t have enough money for groceries. Nearly 18 million people lived in households where one or more people had to skip meals or take other steps to reduce their food intake because of lack of resources.