The number of Americans living below the official federal poverty line stayed steady last year. That was a surprise to most experts, who predicted it would rise for the fourth year in a row.
Still, poverty is near it’s highest rate since the modern welfare system began in the 1960s. And, the rate in Washington state appears to be rising.
Currently, about 850,000 people in Washington are officially poor. Poverty is defined by a certain income level – which was adopted back in 1959 and gets adjusted for inflation. Today, it’s about $23,000 for a family of four.