Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Thirteenth Report to Congress. Economic Security Risk Factor 2. Deep Poverty Rates

03/01/2014

Figure ECON 2. Percentage of Total Population below 50, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: 1975 - 2012

(In percent)

Figure ECON 2. Percentage of Total Population below 50, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: 1975 - 2012

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-245, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.


  • Figure ECON 2 shows the percentage of the population below 50, 100, and 125 percent of the poverty level over time. The percentage of the population in “deep poverty” (with incomes below 50 percent of the federal poverty level) was 6.6 percent in 2012, compared to an overall poverty rate of 15.0 percent.
  • Less than five (4.8) percent of the population was “near-poor;” they had incomes at or above 100 percent but below 125 percent of the federal poverty level in 2012.
  • Table ECON 2 shows the number and percentage of the population below 50, 75, and 125 percent of the poverty level for selected years. In general, the percentage of the population with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level has followed a pattern that reflects the trend in the overall poverty rate.
  • The percentage of people below 50 percent of the poverty level rose in the late 1970s and early 1980s to 5.9 percent, and then after falling, has risen past its 1993 peak of 6.2 percent. The rates for 100 percent and 125 percent of the poverty level followed a somewhat similar pattern with more pronounced peaks and valleys.
  • Over the past three decades, the proportion of the poverty population in “deep poverty” has increased substantially. The percentage of the poverty population in deep poverty went from a low of 29.9 percent in 1975 to 43.9 percent in 2012.

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
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 NA NA 14,600 7.3 24,100 12.1 34,700 17.4
1971 204,600 NA NA NA NA 25,600 12.5 36,500 17.8
1973 207,600 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 37,200 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 34,200 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 43,700 19.3
1982 229,400 12,800 5.6 23,200 10.1 34,400 15.0 46,500 20.3
1983 231,700 13,600 5.9 23,600 10.2 35,300 15.2 47,200 20.3
1984 233,800 12,800 5.5 22,700 9.7 33,700 14.4 45,300 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 43,500 18.7
1987 241,000 12,500 5.2 21,700 9.0 32,200 13.4 43,000 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 42,700 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 50,600 19.7
1993 259,300 16,000 6.2 27,200 10.5 39,300 15.1 51,800 20.0
1994 261,600 15,400 5.9 26,400 10.1 38,100 14.5 50,400 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 47,900 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 20,900 7.5 31,600 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
2006 296,500 15,400 5.2 25,200 8.5
36,500
12.3 49,700 16.8
2007 298,700 15,600 5.2 25,100 8.4 37,300 12.5 50,900 17.0
2008 301,000 17,100 5.7 27,400 9.1 39,800 13.2 53,800 17.9
2009 303,800 19,000 6.3 30,100 9.9 43,600 14.3 56,800 18.7
2010 306,100 20,500 6.7 32,100 10.5 46,300 15.1 60,700 19.8
2011 308,500 20,400 6.6 31,800 10.3 46,200 15.0 60,900 19.8
2012 310,600 20,400 6.6 32,200 10.3 46,500 15.0 61,200 19.8

Note: In previous editions of this report, the number of persons below 50 percent and 75 percent of poverty for 1969 were calculated based on data from the 1970 decennial census. In this report the estimate of the number of persons below 75 percent of poverty for 1969 comes from Current Population Survey data published in Current Population Reports, Series P60-76.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-245, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.

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