Poverty in America: A Glance into the Data
With a national poverty threshold set at $23,850 in 2014, nearly 46.7 million (14.8%) Americans lived in conditions of poverty that year. Just over 21% of those people were children and 10% were seniors. You may be wondering what it means to live in poverty and who else those figures encompass. Take a look at some of our facts below to find out.
- 48.1 million Americans fought hunger in 2014.
- 564,708 people experience homelessness on any given night.
- African Americans had the highest poverty rate at 27.4%, followed by Hispanics at 26.6%, and whites at 9.9%.
According to the Pew Research Center, the South was home to the greatest number of people who are poor in 2014, making up 41.1% of the nations poverty rate.
In dialogue about poverty, income is often the primary identifier of who is considered poor because the national poverty threshold is based on income. However, when we consider wealth development as well, we see the gap between lower- and upper-income Americans grow wider. Wealth includes savings in the form of IRAs, savings accounts, pensions, and other money-storing devices.
Government Funded Social Programs:*
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Head Start (child care)
- WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
- Medicaid (healthcare)
*For a full list of government funded programs, visit The Economic Progress Institute.
The Economic Policy Institute purports that wealth, as well as other factors, must also be considered to determine the nation’s poverty rate. To find out more about national poverty figures and how the U.S. ranks against other nations, look through the State of Working America report.
To learn the myriad ways that the Heller School for Social Policy and Management is dedicated to alleviating poverty, visit the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Stay tuned for information on a variety of policies and programs and their impact on people living in poverty.
MPP/M.A. in Women and Gender Studies
Poverty Alleviation Concentrator