Computations for the 2003 Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia


Size of family unit
Poverty thresholds for 2001 (weighted averages)a/
Column 2 multiplied by 1.016 price inflatorb/
Difference between successive Column 3 entries
Average difference in Column 4c/
February 2003 poverty guidelines
1$9,039$9,184  $8,980
211,56911,754  12,120
314,12814,354  15,260
418,10418,394  18,400d/
521,40521,747  21,540
624,19524,582  24,680
727,51727,957  27,820
830,62731,117  30,960
a/  Column 2 entries are from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-219, Poverty in the United States:  2001, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, September 2002, p. 5.

b/  Price inflation calculated from Table 1A of U.S. Department of Labor, Consumer Price Index press release (USDL-03-15), January 16, 2003.  (The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for all items was 177.1 for calendar year 2001 and 179.9 for calendar year 2002, an increase of 1.6 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 unit of four persons for 2001 ($18,104, from Column 2) by the price increase factor from 2001 to 2002 (1.016) 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 ($3,140) to the size4 2003 guideline entry ($18,400).

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 2003 guideline for a family 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 sizes; these average differences for Alaska and Hawaii are rounded to the nearest multiple of $10.  For families with more than 8 members, add the following amount for each additional person: $3,140 (48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia); $3,930 (Alaska); $3,610 (Hawaii).