PHOENIX - New numbers released just this week give us a clear look at unemployment and poverty here in Arizona.
The U.S. Census found 18.7 percent of our state falls below the poverty level.
That's nearly one in five people-- and nearly three percent higher than the national average.
Meanwhile the unemployment rate in our state is on the rise.
It hit 8.3 percent in August-- up a half percent in the past four months.
Families are depending on places like food banks more and more to survive. And some people living in fixed incomes say they're falling through the cracks.
The recession may be over, but try telling that to people like Steve Neale.
"What I make on social security is not enough to live on."
A new U.S. Census report ranks Phoenix as one of the top five metro areas with people living in poverty at 17.4 percent.
Steve says you can see that at any food bank. "If it wasn't for them a lot of people in this town would go hungry."
So what does poverty look like? For a family of four, the government measures the poverty line at about $23,000 or below.
For Steve, a disability stopped his truck driving career short. And he depends on the government and food banks to get by.
"What I make in a month, I used to make in a week. And it really does take a big chunk out of your rear end."
Right now Steve's food cart is full, but it will only last a few days. And then he, along with thousands of other Arizonans, will move on to the next place, doing whatever they can to scrape by.
"If it keeps falling, I don't know, people will be hurting."
The number of people living in poverty in Phoenix is about the same as Detroit.
Poverty is up in 44 states since 2000.
The number of people living in poverty in Phoenix is about the same as Detroit. As bad as the poverty situation is in Arizona, it's actually getting better.
In 2010, 21.2 percent of Arizonans lived below the poverty level. It's now at 18.7 percent.
During the same time, the national average has actually been on the rise.
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