Poverty

Source and Methodological Information

List of Indicators

Official Poverty Rate

Percent of People below 200% of Official Poverty Threshold

Percent of People below 75% of Official Poverty Threshold

Percent of Families in Poverty

Percent of Poor Population that is Employed

Percent of Poor Population that is Employed Year-Round Full-Time

Alternative Poverty Rate MSI-GA-CPI

Alternative Poverty Rate MIT-GA-CPI

 


Official Poverty Rate

Description

Percent of people living in families with total income below the official poverty threshold.  

Source

Most of the data are from the U.S. Census Bureau Historical Poverty Tables for People. The Census Bureau’s estimates are based on the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement. 

Poverty estimates for some populations and years are produced by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), based on microdata from the CPS Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (King et al., 2010). The populations for which estimates are produced by CPI are some breakdowns by age (Age 18 to 24, Age 25 to 34, Age 35 to 44, Age 45 to 54, Age 55 to 64), all breakdowns by education (Less than High School Degree, High School Degree, Some College, and Bachelor’s degree or More), some breakdowns by race (“Black,” “Black Non-Hispanic,” “Age 18 to 64, Black,” and “Age 18 to 64, Black Non-Hispanic”), and some breakdowns by family type (“People in Married Couple Families”). For three populations, data are a combination of the Census Bureau’s and CPI’s estimates. For the population “Age 18 to 64, White,” data for years 1967-1973 are from CPI; for “Age 18 to 64, White Non-Hispanic,” data for years 1970-1973 are from CPI; and for “Age 18 to 64, Hispanic (any race),” data for years 1970-1975 are from CPI. Data for these three populations for all other years are from the Census Bureau.

Reference

King, Miriam, Steven Ruggles, J. Trent Alexander, Sarah Flood, Katie Genadek, Matthew B. Schroeder, Brandon Trampe, and Rebecca Vick. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey: Version 3.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010.

Methodological Notes

To classify people as poor, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family's total income is below the poverty threshold relevant to that family, then every individual in the family is classified as poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes as its measure of income, and does not include capital gains or the monetary value of noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For more information, see the Census Bureau's poverty definitions.

In 2002, there were substantial changes in the racial categories used by the Census Bureau. Time series by race that include data from both classifications should be interpreted with care. More details on the changes in racial categories.

 


Percent of People below 200% of Official Poverty Threshold

Description

Percent of people living in families with total income below 200 percent of the official poverty threshold. 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables for People. The Census Bureau’s estimates are based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.  

Methodological Notes

To classify people as poor, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family's total income is below the poverty threshold relevant to that family, then every individual in the family is classified as poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes as its measure of income, and does not include capital gains or the monetary value of noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For more information, see the Census Bureau's poverty definitions.

 


Percent of People below 75% of Official Poverty Threshold

Description

Percent of people living in families with total income below 75 percent of the official poverty threshold. 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables for People. The Census Bureau’s estimates are based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement.  

Methodological Notes

To classify people as poor, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family's total income is below the poverty threshold relevant to that family, then every individual in the family is classified as poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes as its measure of income, and does not include capital gains or the monetary value of noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For more information, see the Census Bureau's poverty definitions.

 


Percent of Families in Poverty

Description

Percent of families with total income below the official poverty threshold. 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables for Families. The Census Bureau’s estimates are based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. 

Methodological Notes

To classify people as poor, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family's total income is below the poverty threshold relevant to that family, then every individual in the family is classified as poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes as its measure of income, and does not include capital gains or the monetary value of noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For more information, see the Census Bureau's poverty definitions.

The Current Population Survey defines a family as a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together; all such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family. Beginning with the 1980 Current Population Survey, unrelated subfamilies (referred to in the past as secondary families) are no longer included in the count of families, nor are the members of unrelated subfamilies included in the count of family members. 

In 2002, there were substantial changes in the racial categories used by the Census Bureau. Time series by race that include data from both classifications should be interpreted with care. More details on the changes in racial categories.

 


Percent of Poor Population that is Employed

Description

Percent of poor people age16 and over who are employed. 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables for People. The Census Bureau’s estimates are based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. 

Methodological Notes

To classify people as poor, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family's total income is below the poverty threshold relevant to that family, then every individual in the family is classified as poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes as its measure of income, and does not include capital gains or the monetary value of noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For more information, see the Census Bureau's poverty definitions.

 


Percent of Poor Population that is Employed Year-Round Full-Time

Description

Percent of poor people age16 and over who are employed year-round full-time. 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Poverty Tables for People. The Census Bureau’s estimates are based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. 

Methodological Notes

To classify people as poor, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. If a family's total income is below the poverty threshold relevant to that family, then every individual in the family is classified as poor. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes as its measure of income, and does not include capital gains or the monetary value of noncash benefits such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. For more information, see the Census Bureau's poverty definitions.

 


Alternative Poverty Rate MSI-GA-CPI

Description

Percent of people living in poor families, based on a definition of poverty proposed by the National Academy of Sciences as an alternative to the official definition. For the official poverty rate, see Official Poverty Rate.

This alternative definition of poverty subtracts medical out-of-pocket expenses from family income (“MSI”), adjusts the poverty thresholds for geographic differences in the cost of living (“GA”), and adjusts for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI”). 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau

Methodological Notes

More information about alternative poverty rates is available from the National Academy of Sciences

 


Alternative Poverty Rate MIT-GA-CPI

Description

Percent of people living in poor families, based on a definition of poverty proposed by the National Academy of Sciences as an alternative to the official definition. For the official poverty rate, see Official Poverty Rate.

This alternative definition of poverty includes medical out-of-pocket expenses in the poverty thresholds (“MIT”), adjusts the poverty thresholds for geographic differences in the cost of living (“GA”), and adjusts for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI”). 

Source

U.S. Census Bureau.

Methodological Notes

More information about alternative poverty rates is available from the National Academy of Sciences.