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Published: Wednesday, 9/30/2009

Metro area's income falls; poverty rate climbs


Median income in metro Toledo dropped last year and poverty increased, new U.S. Census figures shows.

The median household income in the metro area was $44,514 last year, down from $46,442 the year before, the Census study released yesterday shows.

The report said nearly four out of five households had earned income from a job, with 21 percent getting retirement income other than Social Security. The average income from Social Security was $14,991 last year.

In metro Toledo, 16 percent of people were in poverty in 2008, up from 15 percent the year before, the Census study shows. That equals nearly 104,000 people in poverty in the metro area of Lucas, Wood, Fulton, and Ottawa counties.

Twenty percent of related children under 18 were below the poverty level, compared with 8 percent of people 65 years old and over, the Census found. Twelve percent of all families and 35 percent of families with a female in the household with no husband present had incomes below the poverty level.

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

The wealthiest 10 percent 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.

Household income declined across all groups, but at sharper percentage levels for middle-income and poor Americans. Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade's worth of gains to hit the lowest level since 1997.

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

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