In a report in the Charlotte Observer (Feb. 23, 2007), “U.S. Poverty Rate Deepens,” an analysis done by McClatchey Newspapers demonstrates an increase in those who experience “severe poverty” in the U.S. According to the article:

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of the 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 — half the federal poverty line — was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

The analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent between 2000 and 2005. That’s 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn’t confined to urban counties.

This works out to 43% of the 37 million in poverty who would be catorized as in severe poverty. The story goes on to quote policy experts who would have predicted the opposite trend (i.e. declining severe poverty rates), and discusses some cases of people who fit this category.