OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that the income gap in the United States has increased to the point where members of the middle class resemble the Americans who lived in poverty when he occupied the White House.

Carter offered his assessment of the nation’s economic challenges Monday at a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Oakland – the first of five cities he and wife Rosalynn plan to visit this week to commemorate their three-decade alliance with the international nonprofit that promotes and builds affordable housing.

The recent economic downturn revealed that families living in even comparatively well-off, but expensive regions like the San Francisco Bay Area are economically insecure, he said.

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