Although the government has spent $20.7 trillion on welfare programs since 1964 according to Heritage Institution estimates, a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that poverty has affected nearly a third of all Americans in recent years.

While the current annual poverty rate in America is 15 percent, the census report reveals a more fluid situation over shorter periods of time in which people move in and out of the designation.

The Census Bureau reports that from 2009 to 2011, 31.6 percent of Americans were in poverty for at least two months. The calculation represents a 4.5 percent increase from the 27.1 percent from 2005 to 2007.

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