A new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows 34.0% of the U.S. population was in poverty for at least two months between January 2013 and December 2016. The report, Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Poverty, 2013–2016, presents data on poverty based on information collected in the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The report describes patterns of poverty and provides a view of the duration that people endure poverty and the frequency of transitions into and out of poverty. The report also examines how poverty dynamics vary across demographic groups.
- Monthly poverty declined from 17.7% in January 2013 to 13.3% in December 2016.
- The average monthly poverty rate from January 2013 to December 2016 was 15.2%.
- During the 48-month period, the median length of a poverty spell (duration of poverty) was 11.1 months, and 35.4% of poverty spells ended within six months.
- The percentage of people continuously in poverty all 48 months from January 2013 through December 2016 was 2.8%.
- Over the January 2013 to December 2016 period, 24.3% of poverty spells experienced by Black individuals lasted at least 24 consecutive months. In contrast,16.1% of poverty spells were experienced by non-Hispanic White individuals lasted 24 consecutive months or longer.
- Overall annual poverty declined from 16.3% in 2013 to 12.3% in 2016.
- In 2016, 27.5% of individuals in annual poverty in 2013 were still in poverty.
- In 2013, 21.9 million people had annual incomes below 50% of the annual poverty threshold. In 2016, 25.9% of these individuals still had incomes below 50% of the annual poverty threshold, while 27.3% of them had incomes above 200% of the annual poverty threshold.
The SIPP collects information on the short-term dynamics of employment, income, household composition, and eligibility and participation in government assistance programs. It is a leading source of information on specific topics related to economic well-being, family dynamics, education, wealth and assets, health insurance, childcare and food security. The SIPP collects data on the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States.