Poverty Guidelines Computations Page

Computations for the 2018 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 2015 — published Sep. 2016a
(3)
Column 2 multiplied by 1.0126 price inflatorb
(4)
Difference between successive Column 3 entries
(5)
Average difference in Column 4c
(6)
January 2016 poverty guidelines

(7)
January 2017 poverty guidelinesd

1

$12,228 $12,488 Neartest $20 $4,180 $12,060

$12,140

2 $15,569 $15,901 $3,412 $4,320 $16,240 $16,460
3 $19,105 $19,512 $3,611 $4,320 $20,420 $20,780
4 $24,563 $25,086 $5,574 $4,320 $24,600 $25,100
5 $29,111 $29,731 $4,645 $4,320 $28,780 $29,420
6 $32,928 $33,629 $3,898 $4,320 $33,960 $33,740
7 $37,458 $38,256 $4,627 $4,320 $37,140 $38,060
8 $41,781 $42,671 $4,415 $4,302 $41,320 $42,380

Notes:

a Column 2 entries are weighted average poverty thresholds from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-252 [PDF], Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:  2014, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, September 2015, p. 43.

b  (The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for all items was 237.017 for calendar year 2015 and 236.736 for calendar year 2014, an increase of 0.1 percent.)

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

d  When the change in the CPI-U is positive but small, it is possible that the poverty guidelines drop for certain family sizes due to these adjustments. This occurred in 2016, when the change in the CPI-U between 2014 and 2015 was small enough so that the rounding and standardizing adjustments in the formula resulted in small decreases in the poverty guidelines between 2015 and 2016 for households with 7 or more members (8 or more for Alaska and Hawaii).  Since a decrease in the poverty guidelines when inflation was not negative would be contrary to congressional intent, a small adjustment was made to the 2016 guideline formula which fixed the 2016 poverty guidelines at the 2015 guidelines for the affected family sizes, which are households of 7 or more (8 or more for Alaska and Hawaii).


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).