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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tennessee had a population of approximately 6.5 million in 2012. About 17.3 percent of the state’s population was classified by the federal government as living below the poverty level. That was higher than the national average of 14.9 percent. Roughly 7.7 percent of those Tennesseans lived on an income that was at least 50 percent below the federal poverty threshold. Tennessee’s impoverished citizens reside throughout the state, including both rural and urban areas. Lake County, in the far northwestern corner of the state, had the highest number of households living in poverty within Tennessee, at 43.7 percent. The second- and third-ranked counties with the highest percentages of households in poverty are both located in the Appalachian portion of the ...

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