U.S. Poverty in Numbers

The Roar Meter is a weekly story in numbers.

  • Definition of poverty line: noun, the estimated minimum level of income needed to secure the necessities of life.
  • 2017 income maximums to meet the federal poverty line (FPL)1:
    • $12,060 for individuals
    • $16,240 for a family of 2
    • $20,420 for a family of 3
    • $24,600 for a family of 4
    • $28,780 for a family of 5
    • $32,960 for a family of 6
    • $37,140 for a family of 7
    • $41,320 for a family of 8
  • As of 2014, Americans living at or below FPL2: 14.8% overall
    • 8% of married couple families
      • 4% of white married couple families
      • 7% of black married couple families
      • 9% of Hispanic married couple families
    • 6% of single parent families
      • 5% of white single parent families
      • 44% of black single parent families
      • 4% of Hispanic single parent families
    • 1% of people living alone
      • 18% of white people living alone
      • 9% of black people living alone
      • 27% of Hispanic people living alone
    • Income level to qualify for tax credits for marketplace healthcare: 100-400% of FPL
    • Income level to qualify for SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, aka food stamps): 130% of FPL
    • Income level to qualify for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children): 185% of FPL
  1. Figures for the FPL apply to the 48 contiguous states and D.C. but not to Alaska or Hawaii, which have higher thresholds.
  2. Figures for white and black people include Hispanic people, and figures for Hispanic people include people of any race.

Annika Barranti Klein is a writer, knitter, women’s banked track roller derby referee, and radical homeschooling mother. Her work has appeared at The Toast, The Establishment, and on Book Riot. She is a cis, white, bi-furious intersectional feminist.

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