MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- More than three million Americans suddenly found themselves living below the poverty line yesterday, thanks to revised poverty figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Tennessee bucked the national trend, with 116,000 residents pushed above the poverty line as a result of the adjusted numbers.
The Census Bureau has started using a new formula for estimating poverty that it believes is more accurate. The revised figures show that 985,000 Tenneseans live in poverty, or 15.5 percent of the state’s total population.
Cliff Sharp of Greenhouse Ministries in Murfreesboro says the years of economic downturn really took a toll on Middle Tennessee.
“A lot of people who’ve never been out of work in their lives, middle-aged people who ended up losing their homes, you know, they’re just really struggling. You know, they’ve never had to ask anybody for any kind of help and especially for food.”
Sharp says he has seen some improvement in the last six months as more local companies start hiring again.
The Census Bureau’s new numbers will have little impact on services for the poor, because the federal government is still using an older formula to determine eligibility for a wide range of aid payments.