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Report Number P60-54

The 1960's have witnessed a pronounced decline in the extent of poverty in the United States. Over the course of the 7-year period from 1959 to 1966, the number of persons below the poverty line was reduced from 39 million to 30 million while the total U.S. population continued to grow, adding an average of 2 ½ million per year. As a result, the poverty rate–that is, the proportion of all persons living in households whose total incomes were judged insufficient to meet minimum U.S. living standards–has fallen even more sharply, from 22 percent in 1959 to 15 percent in 1966. Since 1960, the incidence of poverty has shown a fairly persistent downtrend, with some indication of a more rapid rate of progress in the two most recent years for which data are available. Notwithstanding the general decline in poverty since 1959, by 1966 one family in eight was still receiving incomes below the poverty level. Table A shows the change between 1959 and 1966 in the incidence of poverty for families of different size.

A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

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