Sour economy pushes more Alabamians into poverty

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Newly released U.S. Census figures show the economic downturn pushed more Alabamians into poverty and depressed household incomes overall.

The 1-year statistical changes since 2008 were released on Tuesday. They paint a bleak economic picture in Alabama, with more people living on less income and needing more public assistance.

In 2009, 17.5% of Alabama's population, or 804,683 people, lived below the poverty level, well above the national figure of 14.3% and a 13.1% increase from 2008.

For a four-person household with two children, the poverty level is $21,756 in annual income, according to the methodology used by the Census Bureau that takes into account the size of the family, the number of children and the age of the head of the household.