LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — More Southland residents were living in poverty this past year in the wake of the 2008 recession, according to government data released Thursday.

More than 17 percent of residents in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area were living at or near the poverty line in 2012, up from about 13 percent in 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

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The poverty rate in the L.A. metro area was well above the national average of 15.5 percent, which includes 21.8 percent of children.

The 2012 national income, poverty and health insurance statistics showed very little change from data collected in 2010 or 2011, with 46.5 million people living below the poverty line.

Edward Welniak, chief of the Census Bureau’s Income Statistics Branch, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO there are a number of factors involved in assessing poverty levels.

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“The employment situation in L.A., the work experience, occupations, school enrollment, living arrangements, all of those might help answer that type of question,” Welniak said.

According to the survey, the median household income in the Los Angeles metro area was $57,271 in 2012, which was virtually unchanged from the median income of $57,745 in 2011 and still higher than the median household income of $53,607 across all U.S. metro areas.

The number and percentage of people in poverty also increased statewide, making California one of three states — along with Mississippi and New Hampshire — where the number of people in poverty increased.

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Click here for complete results from the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.