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Poverty: Home

Explore resources to understand and address structural poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

What is poverty?

"The Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. 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 and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).."

U.S. Census Bureau

"Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Various social groups bear disproportionate burden of poverty."

- United Nations

Poor child in India
Homeless person holding a
Homeless person on the street
Shanty town houses

Guide Author

This guide was updated by Licia Slimon, MLS, 2021

This guide was created by Kelsey O'Rourke, MLIS, 2017.

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