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Census Bureau ranks Reading, Pa., as nation's poorest city

The New York Times recently profiled life in Reading. Getty's Spencer Platt visited this week.

Related: Tom Brokaw, Tough choices for 'financially distressed' city

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A man walks down the street collecting cans on October 20 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Reading, a city that once boasted numerous industries and the nation's largest railroad company, has recently been named America's poorest city with residents over 65,000. According to new census data, 41.3 percent of people live below the poverty line in Reading. Reading has about 90,000 residents, many of whom are recent Hispanic arrivals who have moved from larger eastern cities over the past decade. While a manufacturing base offering well paying jobs still exists in Reading, many companies like Hershey, Stanley Tool and Dana Systems have either moved elsewhere in the United States or to Mexico in search of cheaper labor. The number of people living in poverty in America, 46.2 million, is now at its highest level for the 52 years the Census Bureau has been keeping records.



Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Women shop for clothes at a thrift store on October 20 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

An out of work couple eats lunch at the Central Park United Methodist Church which has a soup kitchen and food pantry on October 20, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The church feeds thousands of needy Reading residents monthly and relies on donations and volunteers to keep its increasingly popular programs operating.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Homes are seen next to a closed factory on October 20, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Men wait for groceries at the Central Park United Methodist Church weekly food pantry on October 19, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania. The church feeds thousands of needy Reading residents monthly and relies on donations and volunteers to keep its increasingly popular programs operating.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A view of downtown Reading on October 19, 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Reading, Pa., was once a destination city, buzzing with factories and overflowing with retail stores, but as NBC's Tom Brokaw reports, today, it is a far different place.