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Income disparity in U.S. widens

September 30, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs have ravaged household budgets.

The wealthiest 10% of Americans -- those making more than $138,000 each year -- earned 11.4 times the roughly $12,000 made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. That ratio was an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high of 11.22 in 2003.

Poverty jumped sharply to 13.2%, an 11-year high.

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