CENTRAL ISLIP - A record number of Long Islanders are now living below the poverty line, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The poverty line is defined as $22,000 for a family of four. The census report shows that almost 78,000 Nassau residents lived under the federal poverty line last year, which is up more than 7,000 from the year before.

In Suffolk, about 90,000 people lived in poverty in 2010, which is an increase of 12,000 from 2009.

"Forty-five percent of our families on Long Island are unable to make ends meet," says Gwen O' Shea, of the Health and Welfare Council.

O'Shea adds that residents in need are being forced to sacrifice essentials, such as food, health care and education.