Poverty is an important indicator of economic well-being. Federal and state policymakers, as well as community stakeholders often use poverty rates and income-to-poverty ratios as key indicators of current economic conditions within communities and to make comparisons across demographic groups. Poverty rates, measured as the proportion of people in poverty, are often used to identify communities in need and to estimate the number of families eligible for various government programs.
This brief uses the 2019 and 2021 American Community Surveys (ACS) 1-year estimates to analyze poverty rates for 2021 as well as the changes in poverty from 2019 for the nation, states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the most populous metropolitan areas. The brief reviews the current depth of and proximity to poverty based on the distribution of people by income-to-poverty ratios for the aforementioned geographic areas. In addition, the percentage of households receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program (SNAP) benefits are discussed at the national, state and largest metro area levels.