I saw this correction to reports that nearly half of Americans are below the poverty line or “low-income:”
UPDATE: Hold on just one second. The widely-cited “1-in-2” figure that a number of media outlets reported Thursday — including the Associated Press (and, of course, us by extension) — may not be accurate.
At least according to an NBC News affiliate in Los Angeles, which says it double checked the number with a trio of Census analysts who say that the actual figure for how many Americans are officially classified as either low income or impoverished is closer to 1 in 3.
NBC-LA explains that despite reports to the contrary, the Census officials tell them the the true figures are as follows: about 49.9 million Americans, roughly 13.8 percent of the U.S. population, are living below the poverty line and another 53.8 million, or about 18 percent, are considered low income.
49.9 million + 53.8 million = 103.7 million, or roughly 31 percent of the U.S. population. That’s still a pretty substantial chunk of the U.S. population, but not quite the “nearly half” that made its way into headlines around the Web and onto TV broadcasts.
Maybe it’s just because I missed the original report, but I hope you’ll excuse me for not breaking out the champagne. “Only” 31 percent of Americans are poor? This is not good, people.