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About 40 percent of American families in 1929 earned less than the $1,500 annual income that the federal government deemed the poverty level. That compares to 8.4 percent living at the federal poverty level of $15,000 in 2006. In 1929, only 2.3 percent earned more than $10,000 a year. In 2006, 24.2 percent earned more than $100,000, a comparable inflation-adjusted figure.