How does nativity relate to poverty status?
Official data on foreign- and native-born

In 2014, the nation’s official poverty rate was 15%.  Poverty rates by nativity ranged from 14% to 19%.

The poverty rates by nativity were

  • 14% for native born
  • 19% for the foreign born (naturalized and non-citizens)

Another way to think about the relationship between poverty and nativity is to look at how the distribution of people in poverty by place of birth compares to that of the population as a whole.

By that measure, in 2014 the foreign-born comprise a greater share of the population in poverty than their share of the general population; while the native-born are underrepresented.

DeNavas-Walt, Carmen and Bernadette D. Proctor, Income, and Poverty in the United States: 2014 U.S. Census Bureau. Current Population Reports P60-252, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2015. (PDF) Accessed 10/15/2015

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.