Poverty in America |

Percentage of people living at or below the poverty line in each state.

Poverty in America

As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we often forget how many Americans are struggling financially. However, this graphic illustrates just how many people are living below the poverty level. The image shows the states with the largest number of people in poverty and the percentage change for several states. Additionally, it includes some disappointing facts about poverty statistics in America.

First, there are details of how the Census Bureau determines who is in poverty. The Census Bureau uses a set of income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family’s total income is less than the poverty threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered to be in poverty.

Next, the image shows a chart of the states with the largest number of people in poverty by state on average for 2007 and 2008. Not surprisingly based on its enormous population, California leads the way with nearly 5 million citizens in poverty, followed by Texas with nearly 3.9 million, New York with more than 2.7 million, Florida with just over 2.3 million, and Ohio with 1.5 million. The second half includes Illinois with 1.4 million, Georgia with nearly 1.4 million, North Carolina with more than 1.3 million, Pennsylvania with 1.3 million, and Michigan with almost 1.2 million.

There is also a map with each state shaded differently, depicting the percentage of people living at or below the poverty level. The states with the highest poverty levels, those 16% and higher, are Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

The image also includes the states with the largest percentage increase in poverty levels from 2006 to 2008. Arizona and Indiana suffered the biggest increases with a 1.8% gain. Georgia, South Carolina, and Idaho follow at 1.5%, 1.4%, and 1.3% respectively. Next, are South Dakota, Washington, New Mexico, and California with 1.2% growth each. Rhode Island saw poverty levels increase by 1.1%.

The state with the biggest decrease in poverty levels was Mississippi with a 1.3% drop. Arizona was close behind with a decrease of 1.2%. Utah had a 0.8% decrease. Next, were Oregon, West Virginia, and Texas with decreases of 0.8%, 0.6%, and 0.4%, respectively. D.C., Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Iowa each had a decrease of less than 0.1%.

Finally, the image includes some facts about poverty in America. The total percentage of Americans living in poverty in 2008 was 13.2%. The poverty rate for children is higher than for any other age group with 19% of all children in this country living in poverty. Over 35 million Americans experience food insecurity each year, which means they do not have enough food due to a lack of financial resources. In 2007, the poverty rate was 24.5% for blacks, 21.5% for Hispanics, 10.2% for Asians, and 8.2% for whites.