Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2003. Economic Security Risk Factor 1. Poverty Rates

03/01/2003

Figure ECON 1. Percentage of Persons in Poverty, by Age: 1959-2001

Figure ECON 1

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-219 and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.

  • Poverty has declined substantially since enactment of welfare reform in 1996. Fewer than twelve percent (11.7) of all persons lived in poverty in 2001, compared to 13.7 percent in 1996. From 2000 to 2001, there was a small increase in the overall poverty rate.
  • Children also experienced a considerable decline in poverty from 20.5 percent in 1996 to 16.3 percent in 2001. Children continue, however, to have higher poverty rates than the overall population. For example, in 2001, the poverty rate for related children ages 0 to 5 was just over 18 percent, compared to less than 12 percent for the overall population.
  • The gap between black and white poverty rates was at an historic low of less than 13 percentage points in 2001; the gap has narrowed by well over a third since the early 1990s, when it exceeded 21 percentage points. The poverty rate among Hispanics declined to 21 percent in 2001, the lowest level recorded, as shown in Table ECON 1.
  • The poverty rate for the elderly (persons ages 65 and over) reached historic lows of less than 10 percent in 1999 and 2000 before edging up to 10.1 percent in 2001. This was a lower poverty rate than the rate for children (16 percent) and equal to that of adults ages 18-64.

Table ECON 1. Percentage of Persons in Poverty, by Race and Age: Selected Years

Calendar RelatedChildren All Persons White Black Hispanic
Origin
Year Ages 0-5 Ages 6-17 Total Under 18 18 to 64 65 & over
Notes: Race figures include Hispanic persons in this chart. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. All persons under 18 include related children (own children, including stepchildren and adopted children, plus all other children in the household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption), unrelated individuals under 18 (persons who are not living with any relatives), and householders or spouses under age 18.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-219 and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.
1959 N/A N/A 22.4 27.3 17.0 35.2 18.1 55.1 N/A
1963 N/A N/A 19.5 23.1 N/A N/A 15.3 N/A N/A
1966 N/A N/A 14.7 17.6 10.5 28.5 11.3 41.8 N/A
1969 15.3 13.1 12.1 14.0 8.7 25.3 9.5 32.2 N/A
1973 15.7 13.6 11.1 14.4 8.3 16.3 8.4 31.4 21.9
1976 17.7 15.1 11.8 16.0 9.0 15.0 9.1 31.1 24.7
1979 17.9 15.1 11.7 16.4 8.9 15.2 9.0 31.0 21.8
1980 20.3 16.8 13.0 18.3 10.1 15.7 10.2 32.5 25.7
1981 22.0 18.4 14.0 20.0 11.1 15.3 11.1 34.2 26.5
1982 23.3 20.4 15.0 21.9 12.0 14.6 12.0 35.6 29.9
1983 24.6 20.4 15.2 22.3 12.4 13.8 12.1 35.7 28.0
1984 23.4 19.7 14.4 21.5 11.7 12.4 11.5 33.8 28.4
1985 22.6 18.8 14.0 20.7 11.3 12.6 11.4 31.3 29.0
1986 21.6 18.8 13.6 20.5 10.8 12.4 11.0 31.1 27.3
1987 22.3 18.3 13.4 20.3 10.6 12.5 10.4 32.4 28.0
1988 21.8 17.5 13.0 19.5 10.5 12.0 10.1 31.3 26.7
1989 21.9 17.4 12.8 19.6 10.2 11.4 10.0 30.7 26.2
1990 23.0 18.2 13.5 20.6 10.7 12.2 10.7 31.9 28.1
1991 24.0 19.5 14.2 21.8 11.4 12.4 11.3 32.7 28.7
1992 25.7 19.4 14.8 22.3 11.9 12.9 11.9 33.4 29.6
1993 25.6 20.0 15.1 22.7 12.4 12.2 12.2 33.1 30.6
1994 24.5 19.5 14.5 21.8 11.9 11.7 11.7 30.6 30.7
1995 23.7 18.3 13.8 20.8 11.4 10.5 11.2 29.3 30.3
1996 22.7 18.3 13.7 20.5 11.4 10.8 11.2 28.4 29.4
1997 21.6 18.0 13.3 19.9 10.9 10.5 11.0 26.5 27.1
1998 20.6 17.1 12.7 18.9 10.5 10.5 10.5 26.1 25.6
1999 18.0 15.5 11.8 16.9 10.0 9.7 9.8 23.6 22.8
2000 17.8 14.7 11.3 16.2 9.6 9.9 9.5 22.5 21.5
2001 18.2 14.6 11.7 16.3 10.1 10.1 9.9 22.7 21.4

 

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