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Poverty in the United States: 2022

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Report Number P60-280


This report presents poverty estimates using two measures, the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The official poverty measure, in use since the 1960s, defines poverty by comparing pretax money income to a poverty threshold that is adjusted by family composition. The SPM, first released in 2011 and produced with support from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), extends the official poverty measure by accounting for many government programs that are designed to assist low-income families but are not included in the official poverty measure. The SPM also includes federal and state taxes and work and medical expenses. In addition, the SPM accounts for geographic variation in poverty thresholds, while the official poverty measure does not.

This report presents estimates using the official poverty measure and the SPM for calendar year 2022. The estimates contained in the report are based on information collected in the 2023 and earlier Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC) conducted by the Census Bureau. 


Official Poverty Measure

  • The official poverty rate in 2022 was 11.5 percent, with 37.9 million people in poverty. Neither the rate nor the number in poverty was significantly different from 2021 (Figure 1 and Table A-1).
  • The official poverty rate for Black individuals decreased between 2021 and 2022. The 2022 rate was the lowest on record (Table A-3).

Supplemental Poverty Measure

  • The SPM rate in 2022 was 12.4 percent, an increase of 4.6 percentage points from 2021. This is the first increase in the overall SPM poverty rate since 2010 (Figure 6 and Table B-2).
  • The SPM child poverty rate more than doubled, from 5.2 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022 (Figure 4 and Table B-3).
  • Social Security continued to be the most important antipoverty program in 2022, moving 28.9 million people out of SPM poverty. Meanwhile, refundable tax credits moved 6.4 million people out of SPM poverty, down from 9.6 million people in 2021 (Figure 11 and Table B-8).

Differences in Poverty Measures

  • The share of the population with resources below 50 percent of their poverty threshold was lower for the SPM than for the official poverty measure with a consistent universe. In particular, 3.3 percent of children had SPM resources below half their SPM poverty threshold, compared to 6.6 percent using the official poverty methodology (Figure 10 and Table B-6).
  • SPM rates were higher than the official poverty measure with a consistent universe in 3 states, lower in 38 states, and not statistically different in 9 states and the District of Columbia (Figure 9 and Table B-5).



Source Information

For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions, see https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar23.pdf [PDF - <1.0 MB].

The Census Bureau reviewed this data product for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and approved the disclosure avoidance practices applied to this release. CBDRB-FY23-0438. To further protect respondent privacy, all estimates in this report have undergone additional rounding. As a result, this year’s estimates may differ from previous publications and details may not sum to totals.

Page Last Revised - September 12, 2023
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