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New Census Data: More Americans Eligible for Civil Legal Aid

Friday, September 18, 2009

  • Sean Driscoll
  • Legal Services Corporation

Poverty statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 10 show that nearly 54 million Americans qualified for LSC-funded legal aid in 2008—about three million more than the year before and the largest number in LSC history.

graph of increase in Americans eligible for Legal Aid Services from 2007 to 2008

Number of Americans eligible for LSC-funded legal aid.

The number represents almost 18 percent of all Americans in 2008, a nearly one percent increase from 2007 and the highest percentage since 1996. The number includes 18.5 million children and 20.7 million adult women. Both groups increased by about one million from 2007.

Eligibility for LSC services is defined as those living at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level. The percentage of Americans living at 100 percent of poverty increased by .7 percent from 2007 to 2008—“the first statistically significant annual increase since 2004,” according to the bureau.

The data was released in conjunction with the bureau’s annual report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.

Read the Census Bureau’s press release for more information.



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