Wait wait let me guess. This isn't Obama's fault, right? Step aside Jimmy Carter: There's a new worst-president-ever comin' through. Bottom Line - Poverty rate hits 18-year high as median income falls The number of Americans who have fallen into poverty rose to 15.1 percent in 2010, the highest level in nearly two decades, the Census Bureau said Tuesday in a report. The report, which showed the poverty rate rose for a third straight year as the economy struggles with a stumbling recovery and persistent high joblessness, said the number of poor Americans in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years that it has been publishing poverty estimates, according to Reuters. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 â”€ the fourth consecutive annual increase in the figure.