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Poverty Numbers Up In Louisiana

The US Census Bureau released findings from its 2011 American Community Survey on Thursday.

The new stats reveal 20.1-percent of Louisianians were living in poverty last year. That number is up from 18.7-percent in 2010.

But LSU economist Jim Richardson said what we should be focusing on is how Louisiana's poverty number compares to the national rate, which was 15.9 percent in 2011.

Richardson said policy makers have been waging a war on poverty since the 1960s but few government programs have done more than just alleviate the problem.

"How do we help them get out of it in terms of becoming a more productive, a contributing member of society? I think that's the question," Richardson said.

The latest Census data also shows the median household income in Louisiana was about $42,000 in 2011. That's about a thousand dollars less than it was the previous year. Louisiana remained well under the national median income of about $51,000.