HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

Computations for the
2009 Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines
for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

(1)
Persons in family or household
(2)
Poverty thresholds for 2007 — published Aug. 2008a/
(3)
Column 2 multiplied by 1.038 price inflatorb/
(4)
Difference between successive Column 3 entries
(5)
Average difference in Column 4c/
(6)
January 2009 poverty guidelines
1 $10,590 $10,992     $10,830
      $3,063 $3,740  
2 13,540 14,055     14,570
      3,103 3,740  
3 16,530 17,158     18,310
      4,851 3,740  
4 21,203 22,009     22,050d/
      4,024 3,740  
5 25,080 26,033     25,790
      3,366 3,740  
6 28,323 29,399     29,530
      4,059 3,740  
7 32,233 33,458     33,270
      3,719 3,740  
8 35,816 37,177     37,010
Notes:

a/  Column 2 entries are weighted average poverty thresholds from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-235, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2007, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, August 2008, p. 45.

b/  Price inflation calculated from Table 1A of U.S. Department of Labor, Consumer Price Index press release (USDL-09-0035), January 16, 2009.  (The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for all items was 207.342 for calendar year 2007 and 215.303 for calendar year 2008, an increase of 3.8 percent.)

c/  The arithmetic average of Column 4 entries, rounded to the nearest multiple of $20.

d/  Obtained by multiplying the average poverty threshold for a family of four persons for 2007 ($21,203, from Column 2) by the price increase factor from 2007 to 2008 (1.038) and rounding the result upward to the nearest whole multiple of $50.  All other entries in Column 6 are obtained by successive addition or subtraction of the average difference ($3,740) to the size–4 2009 guideline entry ($22,050).

For Alaska and Hawaii, where the cost of living is traditionally believed to be significantly higher than in other states, scaling factors of 1.25 and 1.15, respectively, are applied to the 2009 guideline for a family or household of four for the 48 contiguous states, and the results (if not already a multiple of $10) are rounded upward to the nearest whole multiple of $10.  (These scaling factors were based on Office of Economic Opportunity administrative practice for these two states only beginning in the 1966-1970 period.)  These scaling factors are applied to the average difference for the 48 contiguous states (Column 5) to obtain average differences for Alaska and Hawaii for deriving guidelines for other family or household sizes; these average differences for Alaska and Hawaii are rounded to the nearest multiple of $10.  For families or households with more than 8 persons, add the following amount for each additional person: $3,740 (48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia); $4,680 (Alaska); $4,300 (Hawaii).


Return to the 2009 Poverty Guidelines page.

Return to the Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement main page.

Last Revised:  November 16, 2009
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