Information on Poverty and Income Statistics: A Summary of 2011 Current Population Survey Data. Overview


  • The Census Bureau today released data indicating that the overall poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent — a statistically significant increase from 14.3 percent in 2009.  This represents 46.2 million people living in poverty in 2010.  This is the third consecutive statistically significant increase in the poverty rate.
  • Median household income was $49,445 in 2010, which is a statistically significant decrease of 2.3 percent from 2009.
  • Today’s data indicate that there were 16.4 million children living in poverty in 2010, up from 15.5 million in 2009.  The child poverty rate was 22.0 percent, which is a statistically significant increase from the 2009 rate of 20.7 percent.  For African-American children, the poverty rate reported today was 38.2 percent for 2010.  The rate for Hispanic children was 35.0 percent.  Children living in female-headed families with no spouse present had a poverty rate of 46.9 percent, about four times the rate of children in married-couple families (11.6 percent).  The poverty rate for people age 65 and over was 9.0 percent, statistically unchanged from 8.9 percent in 2009.  In 2010, 6.7 percent of all people, or 20.5 million people, lived in deep poverty (had income below one-half the poverty threshold, or $11,157 for a family of four).  This is a statistically significant increase of 1.5 million people from 2009.
  • The data released today indicate that the overall poverty rate was the highest since 1993, and the highest number of people in poverty ever recorded.  The overall poverty rate in 2010 has increased from a recent low of 11.3 percent in 2000.
  • These figures reflect money income only and do not reflect the ARRA-funded expansions in SNAP (formerly food stamps) and reductions in the payroll tax.  Data incorporating these and other noncash benefits will not be available until October.

The following charts summarize key points about the poverty data released September 13, 2011.

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