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Q: Poverty Growth in United States ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Poverty Growth in United States
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: roy888-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 04 Mar 2006 16:57 PST
Expires: 03 Apr 2006 17:57 PDT
Question ID: 703674
I need to know the poverty growth in united states for the last four
years to the beginning  of 2006. I was told it went from 11.1% to 14%.
I believe their are different methods of calculating the poverty in
the United States?
Subject: Re: Poverty Growth in United States
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 04 Mar 2006 17:38 PST

The official poverty statistics for the US are compiled by the Census Bureau. 

Because we have only recently left 2005 behind, the annual poverty
data are only available through 2004.  You can see the Census Bureau
table of the most recent data here:
Poverty Status of People by Family Relationship, Race, and Hispanic
Origin: 1959 to 2004

Here are the numbers for the past ten years:

Year         Total         Number     Percent
             Population    in poverty
              (thousands of people)

2004......   290,605       36,997     12.7

2003......   287,699       35,861     12.5 

2002......   285,317       34,570     12.1 

2001......   281,475       32,907     11.7

2000 .....   278,944       31,581     11.3 

1999 .....   276,208       32,791     11.9

1998......   271,059       34,476     12.7

1997......   268,480       35,574     13.3

1996......   266,218       36,529     13.7

1995......   263,733       36,425     13.8

1994......   261,616       38,059     14.5

As you can see, the poverty numbers were declining steadily in the
latter part of the 1990's, but then took a U-turn in 2001, and have
been climbing steadily since then.

The rate during this period was never quite as low as 11.1% -- though
it got close in 2000.  Similarly, it has not yet climbed back above
the 14% level, wehre it was in 1994, though it certainly seems as it
may be headed in that direction.

Another interesting statistic is the number of people in near-poverty,
defined as those with an income of 125% of the poverty line, or less. 
You can see some of these data here:
People Below 125 Percent of Poverty Level and the Near Poor

Year      Total      Number   Percent     

2004.....  290,605     49,666      17.1

2003.....  287,699     48,687      16.9 

2002.....  285,317     47,084      16.5

As you can see, the numbers are considerably higher, and have ranged
beyond 20% of the population in recent history.

Lastly, you mentioned the various ways of measuring poverty.  

Although the US does have an "official" measure in the Census Bureau
figures, it is widely recognized that different types of measures can
result in very different estimates of the number of poor.

This report looks at exactly this phenomenon:
Alternative Poverty Estimates in the United States: 2003

Although it's a bit technical in nature, the bottom line is that
poverty estimates can vary by a factor of two, depending on the type
of methods used to count the number of people in poverty.

I trust this information fully answers your question.  

However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need.  If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.

All the best,


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites for poverty statistics.

Request for Answer Clarification by roy888-ga on 04 Mar 2006 22:24 PST
What is the income levels for Poverty, near poverty, middle class, high class?
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