Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2007. Economic Security Risk Factor 2. Deep Poverty Rates

07/31/2007

Figure ECON 2. Percentage of Total Population below 50, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level 1975-2005

Figure ECON 2. Percentage of Total Population below 50, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level 1975-2005

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-231, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.


  • The percentage of the population in “deep poverty” (with incomes below 50 percent of the federal poverty level) was 5.4 percent in 2005, compared to an overall poverty rate of 12.6 percent. Only about 4 percent of the population was “near-poor” (had incomes at or above 100 percent but below 125 percent of the federal poverty level).
  • In general, the percentage of the population with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty threshold has followed a pattern that reflects the trend in the overall poverty rate, as shown in Figure ECON 2. The percentage of people below 50 percent of poverty rose in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but then, after falling slightly, rose to a second peak in 1993. The rates for 100 percent of poverty and 125 percent of poverty followed a somewhat similar pattern with more pronounced peaks and valleys.
  • Over the past two decades, the proportion of the poverty population in “deep poverty” has increased. From a low of 28 percent of the poverty population in 1976, this population rose to just over 43 percent in 2005 up slightly from 2004.
  • The total number of poor people in 2005 was 37 million, as shown in Table ECON 2. While similar to the previous year, this number was 2.3 million lower than the peak of 39.3 million in 1993.

Table ECON 2. Number and Percentage of Total Population below 50, 75, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: Selected Years

Year Total Population (thousands) Below 50 Percent Below 75 Percent Below 100 Percent Below 125 Percent
Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent

Note: The number of persons below 50 percent and 75 percent of poverty for 1969 are estimated based on the distribution of
persons below 50 percent and 75 percent for 1969 taken from the 1970 decennial census.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005,” Current Population
Reports
, Series P60-231, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html; also 1970 Census of
Population, Volume 1, Social and Economic Characteristics
, Table 259.

1959 176,600 NA NA NA NA 39,500 22.4 54,900 31.1
1961 181,300 NA NA NA NA 39,600 21.9 54,300 30.0
1963 187,300 NA NA NA NA 36,400 19.5 50,800 27.1
1965 191,400 NA NA NA NA 33,200 17.3 46,200 24.1
1967 195,700 NA NA NA NA 27,800 14.2 39,200 20.0
1969 199,500 9,600 4.8 16,400 8.2 24,100 12.1 34,700 17.4
1971 204,600 NA NA NA NA 25,600 12.5 36,500 17.8
1973 208,500 NA NA NA NA 23,000 11.1 32,800 15.8
1975 210,900 7,700 3.7 15,400 7.3 25,900 12.3 37,100 17.6
1976 212,300 7,000 3.3 14,900 7.0 25,000 11.8 35,500 16.7
1977 213,900 7,500 3.5 15,000 7.0 24,700 11.6 35,700 16.7
1978 215,700 7,700 3.6 14,900 6.9 24,500 11.4 34,100 15.8
1979 222,900 8,600 3.8 16,300 7.3 26,100 11.7 36,600 16.4
1980 225,000 9,800 4.4 18,700 8.3 29,300 13.0 40,700 18.1
1981 227,200 11,200 4.9 20,700 9.1 31,800 14.0 43,800 19.3
1982 229,400 12,800 5.6 23,200 10.1 34,400 15.0 46,600 20.3
1983 231,700 13,600 5.9 23,600 10.2 35,300 15.2 47,000 20.3
1984 233,800 12,800 5.5 22,700 9.7 33,700 14.4 45,400 19.4
1985 236,600 12,400 5.2 22,200 9.4 33,100 13.6 44,200 18.7
1986 238,600 12,700 5.3 22,400 9.4 32,400 14.0 44,600 18.7
1987 241,000 12,500 5.2 21,700 9.0 32,200 13.4 43,100 17.9
1988 243,500 12,700 5.2 21,400 8.8 31,700 13.0 42,600 17.5
1989 246,000 12,000 4.9 20,700 8.4 31,500 12.8 42,600 17.3
1990 248,600 12,900 5.2 22,600 9.1 33,600 13.5 44,800 18.0
1991 251,200 14,100 5.6 24,400 9.7 35,700 14.2 47,500 18.9
1992 256,500 15,500 6.1 26,200 10.2 38,000 14.8 50,500 19.7
1993 259,300 16,000 6.2 27,200 10.5 39,300 15.1 51,900 20.0
1994 261,600 15,400 5.9 26,400 10.1 38,100 14.5 50,500 19.3
1995 263,700 13,900 5.3 24,500 9.3 36,400 13.8 48,800 18.5
1996 266,200 14,400 5.4 24,800 9.3 36,500 13.7 49,300 18.5
1997 268,500 14,600 5.4 24,200 9.0 35,600 13.3 47,800 17.8
1998 271,100 13,900 5.1 23,000 8.5 34,500 12.7 46,000 17.0
1999 276,200 12,900 4.7 21,800 7.9 32,800 11.9 45,000 16.3
2000 278,900 12,600 4.5 20,500 7.4 31,100 11.3 43,600 15.6
2001 281,500 13,400 4.8 22,000 7.8 32,900 11.7 45,300 16.1
2002 285,300 14,100 4.9 23,100 8.1 34,600 12.1 47,100 16.5
2003 287,700 15,300 5.3 24,500 8.5 35,900 12.5 48,700 16.9
2004 290,600 15,700 5.4 25,000 8.6 37,000 12.7 49,700 17.1
2005 293,100 15,900 5.4 25,200 8.6 37,000 12.6 49,300 16.8

 

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