Increase In The Number Of WA Residents Living In Poverty Since 2001 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Increase In The Number Of WA Residents Living In Poverty Since 2001

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - New Census Bureau figures show the number of Washington residents living in poverty is up sharply since 2001, with increases in every county except Garfield.      

The agency reports 12 percent of the people in the state were living in poverty in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available.

In 2005 more than 21 percent of people in Yakima lived in poverty, 11.1 percent in Benton County and 17.8 percent in Franklin County.

In 2001, just 9.9 percent of the state's population was in poverty.      

The state had 732,049 people living in poverty in 2005, compared with 586,456 people in 2001, the bureau said.

The federal poverty line in 2005 was $19,350 for a family of four.      

According to Census Bureau numbers analyzed by the Associated Press, the number of people in poverty rose even as the median household income in the state climbed from $46,284 in 2001 to $49,372 in 2005.      

The increase in poverty might surprise some residents, thanks to Washington's general image as a state with low unemployment, high income and steady job growth.

But Tony Lee of the statewide poverty action network in Seattle was not surprised, because Washington has lots of low-paid workers.