CFED Scorecard

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Financial Assets & Income
Income Poverty Rate
Definition

Percentage of households with income below the federal poverty threshold, 2014.

Description

Income poverty is a fundamental indicator of financial insecurity and instability. If a household’s total income is below the poverty threshold, then they are considered poor. Official poverty estimates are calculated each year by the Census Bureau using a set of income thresholds that vary by family size and composition.

The official poverty measure was developed about a half-century ago and is based on the assumption that families spend one third of their after-tax income on food. For years, poverty experts and researchers have contended that the official poverty measure is misleading and does not reflect the full amount of income that a family needs to live and thrive in the current economy. In addition, the official poverty measure does not account for government benefits like food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit and differences in the cost of living across geographies, which vary dramatically. The Census Bureau has begun to release research on a supplemental poverty measure to address many of these criticisms. 

To see the data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, where available, click on the Data by Race tab below.

14.5% of United States households live in income poverty

Income Poverty Rate, 2014

StateIncome Poverty Rate (%)Rank
United States 14.5%
Alabama 18.6% 47
Alaska 9.0% 2
Arizona 16.0% 40
Arkansas 17.9% 45
California 14.7% 28
Colorado 11.5% 11
Connecticut 10.6% 4
Delaware 11.5% 12
District of Columbia 16.9% 43
Florida 15.3% 36
Georgia 16.8% 42
Hawaii 11.0% 7
Idaho 14.4% 27
Illinois 13.5% 24
Indiana 14.3% 26
Iowa 11.9% 14
Kansas 13.2% 21
Kentucky 19.0% 48
Louisiana 19.4% 49
Maine 14.0% 25
Maryland 9.7% 3
Massachusetts 12.2% 17
Michigan 15.0% 32
Minnesota 11.0% 6
Mississippi 20.8% 51
Missouri 15.0% 31
Montana 14.8% 29
Nebraska 12.1% 15
Nevada 13.5% 23
New Hampshire 8.8% 1
New Jersey 10.7% 5
New Mexico 19.9% 50
New York 15.2% 35
North Carolina 16.0% 39
North Dakota 11.7% 13
Ohio 15.1% 33
Oklahoma 15.9% 38
Oregon 15.1% 34
Pennsylvania 13.0% 20
Rhode Island 15.0% 30
South Carolina 16.7% 41
South Dakota 13.2% 22
Tennessee 17.4% 44
Texas 15.7% 37
Utah 11.1% 8
Vermont 12.3% 18
Virginia 11.3% 10
Washington 12.2% 16
West Virginia 18.1% 46
Wisconsin 12.4% 19
Wyoming 11.2% 9

Income Poverty Rate by Race and Ethnicity

Income Poverty Rate (%)
StateWhite HHsHHs of ColorBlack HHsAsian HHsHispanic HHsNative American HHs
United States 10.9% 22.6% 26.1% 13.5% 23.5% 27.8%
Alabama 13.6% 29.6% 30.6% 17.1% 32.5% 16.3%
Alaska 7.0% 18.9% 21.7% 15.7% 8.8% 21.2%
Arizona 11.1% 24.5% 23.1% 15.2% 26.6% 37.0%
Arkansas 14.5% 29.4% 31.4% 13.3% 29.3% 15.8%
California 10.0% 16.6% 23.6% 13.0% 21.7% 26.4%
Colorado 8.9% 19.4% 20.2% 15.6% 21.1% 22.9%
Connecticut 6.5% 15.9% 19.4% 6.1% 27.1% 26.8%
Delaware 9.2% 18.8% 20.3% 6.5% 11.7% 24.1%
District of Columbia 7.3% 23.5% 24.3% 15.0% 13.7% 38.5%
Florida 11.3% 24.1% 26.3% 14.4% 22.0% 23.5%
Georgia 11.9% 24.2% 25.7% 11.0% 26.9% 22.1%
Hawaii 10.1% 10.7% 8.3% 8.6% 15.4%
Idaho 13.9% 19.5% 19.8% 14.0% 22.7% 28.0%
Illinois 9.4% 25.0% 29.4% 12.6% 19.6% 30.0%
Indiana 11.7% 29.3% 31.8% 18.1% 26.1% 27.5%
Iowa 10.5% 28.4% 33.6% 17.8% 18.7% 39.5%
Kansas 11.2% 21.4% 24.0% 14.3% 26.9% 33.2%
Kentucky 17.1% 28.9% 30.8% 23.6% 30.3% 61.2%
Louisiana 12.9% 31.9% 33.1% 13.6% 19.7% 25.2%
Maine 13.7% 32.1% 59.3% 17.6% 11.6% 55.9%
Maryland 7.2% 13.3% 13.8% 10.7% 12.7% 9.7%
Massachusetts 8.7% 19.7% 22.8% 16.0% 32.7% 27.9%
Michigan 12.0% 29.0% 31.9% 15.3% 24.2% 23.1%
Minnesota 8.5% 28.6% 34.9% 16.7% 21.7% 32.2%
Mississippi 14.3% 34.1% 34.5% 24.2% 24.1% 18.8%
Missouri 13.1% 26.6% 27.1% 20.2% 25.0% 24.2%
Montana 13.8% 30.1% 36.5% 40.3% 29.0% 32.4%
Nebraska 10.1% 25.1% 27.4% 15.9% 22.5% 42.2%
Nevada 10.0% 17.4% 24.0% 9.9% 18.9% 19.8%
New Hampshire 8.5% 8.2% 9.6% 4.8% 22.9%
New Jersey 6.9% 14.2% 18.8% 6.9% 20.9% 11.8%
New Mexico 13.8% 28.2% 19.4% 15.1% 25.1% 32.9%
New York 10.1% 20.8% 22.3% 18.3% 26.5% 21.8%
North Carolina 11.7% 24.7% 25.9% 11.3% 30.4% 26.6%
North Dakota 9.6% 37.4% 45.1% 39.9% 27.3% 38.8%
Ohio 11.9% 31.1% 33.4% 17.6% 26.3% 23.1%
Oklahoma 13.0% 22.9% 28.4% 16.3% 26.2% 22.8%
Oregon 13.1% 25.1% 37.5% 14.7% 25.1% 26.9%
Pennsylvania 10.2% 25.5% 27.7% 17.5% 31.7% 30.7%
Rhode Island 11.5% 21.5% 21.2% 17.2% 35.3% 47.4%
South Carolina 11.9% 27.9% 28.6% 12.7% 26.5% 30.0%
South Dakota 10.5% 39.9% 33.8% 25.8% 33.2% 49.1%
Tennessee 14.4% 27.9% 28.8% 15.4% 34.8% 15.1%
Texas 9.5% 19.9% 22.7% 12.2% 24.4% 11.0%
Utah 8.9% 20.7% 19.1% 18.8% 24.1% 31.5%
Vermont 10.5% 20.6% 35.9% 14.2% 19.7%
Virginia 9.0% 17.7% 20.4% 8.8% 14.6% 21.6%
Washington 10.4% 17.9% 23.3% 13.2% 20.9% 27.1%
West Virginia 17.6% 27.9% 28.3% 19.7% 25.0% 36.9%
Wisconsin 9.9% 31.5% 35.4% 25.7% 24.8% 30.9%
Wyoming 9.7% 30.3% 18.0% 46.6% 24.5% 34.4%

"—" indicates that no data is available.

Estimates for White households are generated for the White, non-Hispanic population. Likewise, estimates for Hispanic households include all households of Hispanic or Latino origin, regardless of race.

Change in Income Poverty Rate

Income Poverty Rate (%)
State2005200620072008200920102011201220132014
United States 13.1% 12.7% 12.3% 12.6% 13.4% 14.0% 14.6% 14.7% 14.7% 14.5%
Alabama 17.4% 17.2% 16.7% 16.0% 17.3% 18.1% 18.3% 18.4% 18.2% 18.6%
Alaska 10.3% 9.2% 8.5% 7.2% 7.6% 8.5% 8.5% 8.5% 8.0% 9.0%
Arizona 12.6% 12.2% 12.0% 12.3% 13.9% 14.7% 16.1% 15.7% 15.9% 16.0%
Arkansas 17.2% 17.2% 17.6% 17.2% 18.0% 17.6% 18.9% 18.2% 18.8% 17.9%
California 11.8% 11.5% 11.0% 11.8% 12.4% 13.8% 14.6% 15.0% 15.0% 14.7%
Colorado 11.0% 11.4% 11.1% 10.9% 11.9% 12.5% 12.3% 12.6% 12.0% 11.5%
Connecticut 8.9% 8.6% 8.1% 9.4% 9.5% 10.0% 10.6% 10.4% 10.5% 10.6%
Delaware 9.6% 10.1% 10.0% 9.7% 9.6% 11.0% 10.4% 11.0% 11.1% 11.5%
District of Columbia 16.7% 17.0% 14.7% 15.4% 15.9% 15.5% 16.1% 15.2% 16.7% 16.9%
Florida 12.5% 12.2% 11.4% 12.5% 13.8% 14.9% 15.2% 15.4% 15.6% 15.3%
Georgia 14.2% 14.0% 13.3% 13.8% 15.2% 16.0% 17.4% 17.4% 17.4% 16.8%
Hawaii 10.5% 10.1% 8.8% 10.1% 10.3% 11.1% 11.4% 11.2% 10.4% 11.0%
Idaho 13.8% 12.5% 11.5% 12.4% 13.0% 14.9% 15.1% 14.9% 14.7% 14.4%
Illinois 11.8% 11.8% 11.4% 11.7% 12.5% 12.7% 13.6% 13.8% 14.0% 13.5%
Indiana 12.0% 12.0% 11.7% 12.4% 13.6% 13.8% 14.4% 14.2% 14.9% 14.3%
Iowa 11.0% 11.3% 10.9% 11.4% 11.6% 11.9% 12.0% 12.5% 12.4% 11.9%
Kansas 12.2% 12.3% 10.8% 11.3% 12.6% 13.1% 12.8% 12.8% 13.4% 13.2%
Kentucky 17.5% 17.4% 17.2% 17.2% 18.1% 18.1% 18.7% 18.9% 18.7% 19.0%
Louisiana 19.7% 18.4% 18.1% 16.9% 17.1% 17.7% 19.7% 19.1% 19.0% 19.4%
Maine 13.0% 12.9% 12.5% 13.1% 12.3% 12.9% 14.6% 14.0% 14.2% 14.0%
Maryland 8.3% 7.5% 8.0% 7.9% 8.7% 9.1% 9.4% 9.7% 9.7% 9.7%
Massachusetts 11.3% 10.6% 10.5% 10.6% 10.8% 12.0% 12.1% 12.3% 12.1% 12.2%
Michigan 12.8% 12.8% 13.0% 13.6% 14.9% 15.0% 15.7% 15.8% 15.8% 15.0%
Minnesota 9.4% 9.7% 9.5% 9.8% 10.6% 11.0% 11.2% 10.9% 10.9% 11.0%
Mississippi 21.1% 20.8% 19.8% 20.3% 20.7% 20.8% 21.2% 22.4% 22.6% 20.8%
Missouri 13.5% 13.4% 13.1% 13.1% 14.3% 14.6% 15.0% 15.4% 15.2% 15.0%
Montana 14.1% 13.6% 13.6% 13.6% 13.8% 13.1% 13.3% 14.8% 15.6% 14.8%
Nebraska 11.6% 11.7% 11.2% 10.6% 12.2% 12.3% 12.8% 12.4% 12.5% 12.1%
Nevada 10.8% 9.7% 9.3% 10.2% 11.0% 13.1% 14.0% 14.3% 13.9% 13.5%
New Hampshire 8.1% 8.2% 7.4% 8.3% 9.0% 8.4% 9.0% 9.0% 8.8% 8.8%
New Jersey 9.2% 8.7% 8.6% 8.8% 9.1% 9.9% 10.1% 10.5% 11.1% 10.7%
New Mexico 17.6% 17.3% 16.8% 16.1% 16.8% 17.8% 19.3% 19.2% 19.6% 19.9%
New York 14.0% 13.7% 13.2% 13.4% 13.6% 14.1% 15.0% 14.9% 15.0% 15.2%
North Carolina 14.8% 14.3% 14.1% 14.0% 15.4% 16.0% 16.2% 16.4% 16.3% 16.0%
North Dakota 12.8% 13.2% 13.2% 12.5% 12.8% 13.0% 12.5% 11.6% 12.2% 11.7%
Ohio 13.1% 13.1% 13.0% 13.3% 14.7% 14.6% 15.4% 15.2% 15.2% 15.1%
Oklahoma 16.6% 16.0% 15.4% 15.5% 15.8% 15.6% 16.2% 16.2% 15.9% 15.9%
Oregon 13.9% 12.8% 12.6% 13.0% 13.2% 14.4% 15.6% 15.6% 15.1% 15.1%
Pennsylvania 12.2% 12.0% 11.5% 12.0% 12.1% 12.7% 13.0% 13.1% 13.1% 13.0%
Rhode Island 12.4% 11.7% 12.1% 12.6% 12.0% 14.0% 14.0% 14.1% 14.0% 15.0%
South Carolina 15.7% 15.4% 14.6% 15.4% 16.1% 16.8% 17.3% 17.1% 17.5% 16.7%
South Dakota 13.5% 13.9% 12.7% 12.3% 13.4% 13.2% 13.1% 12.0% 12.9% 13.2%
Tennessee 16.0% 16.1% 15.2% 15.1% 16.4% 16.4% 17.0% 16.9% 16.6% 17.4%
Texas 16.2% 15.5% 14.6% 14.6% 15.5% 15.7% 16.2% 16.0% 15.7% 15.7%
Utah 10.6% 10.2% 9.1% 9.3% 10.6% 12.3% 12.7% 11.9% 11.9% 11.1%
Vermont 12.1% 10.7% 10.2% 11.2% 11.4% 12.6% 11.3% 11.7% 12.6% 12.3%
Virginia 10.4% 9.7% 9.8% 10.0% 10.3% 10.5% 11.0% 11.2% 11.2% 11.3%
Washington 11.9% 11.2% 10.8% 10.7% 11.2% 11.9% 12.5% 12.2% 12.9% 12.2%
West Virginia 18.2% 17.2% 17.1% 17.4% 17.6% 17.4% 18.4% 17.6% 18.1% 18.1%
Wisconsin 10.2% 10.5% 10.4% 10.4% 12.0% 12.1% 12.3% 12.4% 12.9% 12.4%
Wyoming 10.2% 10.1% 8.4% 10.0% 9.8% 10.8% 10.5% 11.4% 10.9% 11.2%

Definition

Percentage of households with income below the federal poverty threshold, 2014.

The threshold used to determine the income poverty rate varies by family size. A family of four with income less than $24,250 per year in 2015 is income poor.

Source

2014 American Community Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2015.

Note: The Census Bureau recommends using the ACS for single-year estimates of income and poverty at the state level.

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