Missionaries of the Sacred

Poverty Threshold in the United States PDF Print

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's August 26, 2008 Press Release, 37.3 million people in the United States are living in poverty. The 2007 weighted average poverty threshold was (figures below represent annual income before taxes):
  • $21,203 for a family of 4
  • $16,539 for a family of 3
  • $13,540 for a family of 2
  • $10,590 for unrelated individuals

Annual income can include more than just one's salary, such as: unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, Social Security benefits, pension plan, etc. For a full list of what does and does not count when calculating the poverty threshold, visit the the US Census Bureau's website.

As the table to the left shows, even at the poverty line and with assistance (insurance, subsidies, food stamps, etc.), a family of four may not be able to meet all of their basic expenses, not to mention "extras" such as clothing, cleaning supplies, school supplies, birthday gifts, etc.

Expense estimates based on the USCCB's Tour Poverty USA, citing the February 2007 Consumer Expenditure Survey of the U.S. Department of Labor.