FILE - This Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 file photo shows boarded-up buildings in Camden, N.J. The ranks of America's poor have climbed to a record high, according to new census data that paints a stark portrait of the nation's haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
December 15, 2011 6:03:47 AM PST
By HOPE YEN Associated Press
WASHINGTON - December 15, 2011 --
Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans - nearly 1 in 2 - have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.