US Poverty Level Statistics

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The US Poverty Level Statistics dataset includes percentages and numbers of persons and children below the poverty level in the United States by race between 1973 and 2016.


The US Poverty Level Statistics dataset lists numbers and percentages of persons, children in families and children in families with a female householder and no husband present by race and Hispanic origin in the United States.
Children are persons under age 18 years related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption who are not themselves householders or spouses of householders. Excluded children include those who are members of unrelated subfamilies, unrelated individuals between age 15 and 17, or householders and spouses of householders under age 18 years.

The poverty level is based on family income and family size using U.S. Census Bureau poverty thresholds. 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).

Numbers and Percentages of poverty are available with race. The race groups white, black, and Asian include persons of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. For 2002 and later years, race-specific estimates are tabulated according to the 1997 Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity and are not strictly compatible with estimates for earlier years.
Starting with 2002 data, the CPS allowed respondents to report more than one race; however, race-specific estimates shown in the dataset were for respondents who reported one race. Prior to 2002, race-specific estimates were tabulated according to the 1977 Standards, and the Asian only category included Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Race-specific estimates prior to 2002 were based on the Current Population Survey question, which allowed respondents to report only one race group.

Estimates of poverty calculation method have evolved with years, for 1992–1998 estimates were prepared using the 1990 Census-based population controls, for 1999-2009 were prepared using the 2000 Census-based population controls, for 2010 and beyond were prepared using the 2010 Census-based population controls.
For 2013 data, the CPS ASEC used a split panel to test a new set of income questions. Estimates for 2013 shown First are based on the approximately 68,000 addresses that received questions consistent with those used to create estimates for 2012 and earlier. Estimates for 2013 shown Below are based on the approximately 30,000 addresses that received the new set of income questions.

Data for 2013 ( All persons (2), Related children under age 18 in families (2) and Related children under age 18 in families with female householder and no husband present (2) ) and beyond are based on a redesigned questionnaire that includes the new set of income questions; therefore data trends need to be interpreted with caution.

Date Created


Last Modified




Update Frequency


Temporal Coverage

1973 to 2016

Spatial Coverage

United States


John Snow Labs; US National Center for Health Statistics;

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Source Citation



US Poverty Level, US Persons Below Poverty Level, US Poverty Level, US Poverty Line, US Poverty Rate, US Poverty Index, US Poverty Statistics, US Poverty Level by Race, Poverty in America, Poverty in the United States, US Poverty Facts

Other Titles

Percentage of Persons Below Poverty Levvel in the US, Poverty Level in The United States, Percentage of Persons Below Poverty Level in the United States

Persons_CategoryCharacteristic of concerned personsstringrequired : 1
RaceRace of concerned personsstringrequired : 1
YearYear of statistics from 1973 to 2016daterequired : 1
Poverty_PercentageThe percentage of concerned persons below poverty levelnumberlevel : Ratio
Number_of_Persons_Below_Poverty_in_ThousandsThe number of concerned persons below poverty levelintegerlevel : Ratio
All personsMexican1973
All personsMexican1980
All personsMexican1986
All personsMexican2002
All personsMexican2003
All personsMexican2004
All personsMexican2005
All personsMexican2006
All personsMexican2007
All personsMexican2008