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The recession's unseen victims

Click here to view a slideshow of Ann Curry's photos

Ann Curry, NBC News correspondent and photographer
We've been hearing a great deal about how this "great recession" has affected the middle class and the rich in America, as well we should. But we've heard relatively little about how it's affected our poorest citizens.

I took some photos as part of our team's efforts over the last nine months, to document the lives of the working poor as they have lost jobs, looked for jobs, and held onto hope in the recession. In the photos, you'll see the Mash family, among 14 people who crammed into a four-bedroom house in Nelsonville, Ohio because of a lack of jobs; laid-off crane operator Daniel Zimmerman, an Air Force veteran who has lost one job after another in recent years because businesses keep closing, and his 14-year-old nephew Adam, who sleeps in the basement.

Speaking to these people you quickly realize how much they want the dignity of a good job. They want to feed their families, and are embarrassed to stand in food lines, where nationwide the demand has grown 30 percent in the last two years.

There are uplifting stories among them, of resilience, and of fierce grit.

Looking at my photos, I can see I am drawn to the children. As you look at them, consider this: A study funded by Duke University says by the end of this year, 22 percent of America's children will be living in poverty. That's a five percent jump since 2006.

Our Dateline special report airs in it's entirety on Sunday, July 25 (7:00 PM/ET) on NBC. It's called "America Now: Friends and Neighbors."

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