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Nearly 1 in 7 Americans Is Impoverished

Report by U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. says that nearly one in seven Americans was impoverished last year.

The government said Tuesday that the 15 percent poverty rate, virtually unchanged from 2011, means that more than 46 million people live at or below the poverty line in one of the world's wealthiest countries. The poverty line in the U.S. varies by the size of the household, but is set at $23,550 for a family of four people.

The U.S. Census Bureau said the median household income in 2012 was just above $51,000, also not much changed from the previous year. The report said that native-born Americans and naturalized citizens had higher median incomes than non-citizens who have immigrated to the country.

The government said the median earnings of women working full-time - nearly $38,000 - remained about 77 percent of the figure for men of more than $49,000.

The percentage of people without health insurance edged lower to 15.4 percent last year, representing about 48 million people. Under a controversial health care law set to take full effect in the coming months, many of the uninsured will be required to buy health insurance policies to help pay their medical bills or face a fine for not doing so.