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Who and where America’s poor people are, in charts

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

There are 48.67 million people living in poverty in the US, according to the new Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). That’s 15.5% of the country’s population. The number is higher than the US government’s official count of 45.74 million people in 2013, in part because the Census Bureau takes into account the effects of government programming—like lunch programs that supplement income, and childcare costs that eat into income. The Bureau also uses a more variable cost-of-living calculation, for instance accounting for different housing costs in different locations. (The official poverty line last year was set at $23,283 for a family of four)

What you need to know about the poor people in America:

One fourth of the country’s poor people are minors.

There are 12.2 million people under the age of 18 living in poverty, compared to 36.5 million adults. That’s 16.4% of the child population in poverty, compared to 15.4% of the 18-64 population and 14.6% of the 65+ population.

Where they are:

Although the largest number of people living in poverty are in the South, it’s significant that they make up a larger proportion of the population in the West: 18.7%, compared with 15.9% (or closer to the national average) in the South. Though the Northeast accounts for the smallest absolute number of people living in poverty, they make up 14.3% of the population.

There are more women in poverty than men—16.2% of the female population, compared to 14.9% of the country’s male population are below the SPM line.

Of those women, 18 million are householders.

Asians make up the smallest number of people living in poverty. White people account for the largest absolute number, whereas black and Hispanic populations have the largest proportion of people living in poverty.

Poor white people account for 10.7% of the white population, while poor black people and poor Hispanic people account for 24.7% and 26% of their entire populations, respectively. Asians living in poverty account for 16.4% of the entire population.

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