How many people are poor?
What is the current poverty rate?


In 2014,  46.7 million people in the United States lived in poverty.

The nation’s official poverty rate was 14.8% in 2018.

Image of How many people are poor? Neither the number of people in poverty nor the poverty rate were statistically different from the 2013 estimates..

DeNavas-Walt, Carmen and Bernadette D. Proctor, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Reports P60-252 (PDF), U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2015.  Accessed 9/28/2015

Image of Official Poverty Statistics

Official Poverty Statistics
from the Current Population Survey


The official poverty statistics, which have been in use since the 1960s, calculate poverty status by comparing a family’s or an individual’s cash income to their poverty threshold. 

Image of Poverty for States and Large Metropolitan Areas

Poverty for States and Large Metropolitan Areas
Data from the American Community Survey


Using income and household relationship data from the American Community Surveys (ACS), the Census Bureau provides unofficial estimates of the number and percentage of people in poverty for sub-national levels of geography.

Image of Research Supplemental Poverty Measure

Research Supplemental Poverty Measure
An Alternative Measure of Poverty


In 2011, the Census Bureau issued a paper that laid groundwork for developing a new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) for the United States. 

This paper illustrate differences between the official measure of poverty and a poverty measure that takes account of in-kind benefits received by families and nondiscretionary expenses that they must pay.