Finding Poverty Statistics

Overview

Poverty Statistics

Image of Poverty Statistics

Government agencies and others maintain a wealth of statistics and data related to poverty.  These links are a good place to start for essential information on poverty measures at the national, state, and local level, along with other fundamental measures relating to poverty in the United States.

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Measures of Poverty
Poverty Thresholds and Guidelines

 

There are two official measures of poverty issued annually by the federal government:

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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. 

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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.

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Experimental Poverty Measures
Other Alternative Measures from the Census Bureau

 

Prior to the publication of the Research Supplemental Poverty Measure in 2011,  the Census Bureau conducted a variety of studies looking at how income distribution changes when the definition of income is varied to include or exclude different components. 

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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.

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Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)
Model-based Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates for School Districts, Counties, and States

 

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program provides annual estimates of income and poverty statistics for all school districts, counties, and states.

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Areas with Concentrated Poverty
ACS and Other Sources

 

Areas of Concentrated Poverty (ACS)

These Census Bureau report analyzes demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of census tracts by categorizing the tracts based on their poverty levels. Tracts with poverty rates of 20% or more are considered “poverty areas”.  Recent reports draw data from the America Community Survey and older data come the the Census long form.

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Kidsdata.org
A Program of Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

 

Kidsdata.org offers specific data on family economics in California.

Image of Kidsdata.orgKidsdata.org also allows you to easily download data into well-designed charts and graphs and embed them on your website and in reports, fact sheets, and PowerPoint presentations.

Frequency and timespan: Continuously updated, recent data only

Geographic level of coverage: State data for California and its legislative districts, counties, cities and school dstricts.

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A Profile of the Working Poor
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

The BLS produces an annual report on the working poor. 

The working poor are defined as persons who, during the year, spent 27 weeks or more in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose incomes still fell below the official poverty level.

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Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers
from the Bureau of Labor Statisics

The BLS produces the report, Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.

This report provides statistics on hourly-paid workers with earnings at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage.

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