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Poverty: Home

Explore national and local poverty resources to learn more about the poverty line and those who fall below it.

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

"In pure economic terms, income poverty is when a family's income fails to meet a federally established threshold that differs across countries. Typically it is measured with respect to families and not the individual, and is adjusted for the number of persons in a family. Economists often seek to identify the families whose economic position falls below some minimally acceptance level. Similarly, the international standard of extreme poverty is set to the possession of less than 1$ a day."


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

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Guide Author

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