Computations for the 2015 Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia


Computations for the 2015 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 2013 — published Sep. 2014a
Column 2 multiplied by 1.016 price inflatorb
Difference between successive Column 3 entries
Average difference in Column 4c
January 2015 poverty guidelines
1$11,888$12,078  $11,770
215,14215,384  15,930
318,55218,849  20,090
423,83424,215  24,250d
528,26528,717  28,410
631,92532,436  32,570
736,38436,966  36,730
840,48441,132  40,890


a Column 2 entries are weighted average poverty thresholds from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-249 [PDF], Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2013, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, September 2014, p. 43.

b  (The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for all items was 232.957 for calendar year 2013 and 236.736 for calendar year 2014, 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 2013 ($23,834, from Column 2) by the price increase factor from 2013 to 2014 (1.016) and rounding the result upward to the nearest whole multiple of $50 ($24,250).  All other entries in Column 6 are obtained by successive addition or subtraction of the average difference ($4,160) to the size–4 2014 guideline entry ($24,250).

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 2015 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: $4,160 (48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia); $5,200 (Alaska); $4,780 (Hawaii).