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Computations for the 2011 Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

Persons in family or household
Poverty thresholds for 2009 — published Sep. 2010a/
Column 2 multiplied by 1.016 price inflatorb/
Difference between successive Column 3 entries
Average difference in Column 4c/
January 2011 poverty guidelines
1 $10,956 $11,131     $10,890
      $3,084 $3,820  
13,991 14,215     14,710
      3,157 3,820  
3 17,098 17,372     18,530
       4,933 3,820  
4 21,954 22,305     22,350d/
      4,102 3,820  
5 25,991 26,407     26,170
      3,468 3,820  
6 29,405 29,875     29,990
      4,031 3,820  
7 33,372 33,906     33,810
      3,942 3,820  
8 37,252 37,848     37,630


a/  Column 2 entries are weighted average poverty thresholds from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-238, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2009, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, September 2010, p. 55.

b/  Price inflation calculated from Table 1A of U.S. Department of Labor, Consumer Price Index press release (USDL-11-0018), January 14, 2011.  (The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for all items was 214.537 for calendar year 2009 and 218.056 for calendar year 2010, 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 of four persons for 2009 ($21,954, from Column 2) by the price increase factor from 2009 to 2010 (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 ($3,820) to the size–4 2011 guideline entry ($22,350).

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 2011 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: $3,820 (48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia); $4,780 (Alaska); $4,390 (Hawaii).