Boo! Spooky Statistics on Poverty in America
Is there anything scarier than ghosts, zombies, and witches?
With 46.2 million impoverished Americans in 2011, the state of poverty in the U.S. is certainly frightful.
As millions of children (and many adults!) don their scariest costumes for Halloween, we know many of you are getting ready for another set of calendar dates: the upcoming tax season. Below you’ll find some “frightening” statistics on poverty in our country to remind us all of why we do what we do for low-income taxpayers – trying to take these numbers down to zero.
Scary facts about poverty for children and families:
- The number of families with children living on less than $2 per person per day has more than doubled since 1996
- Only one in five desperately poor families receives housing assistance due to limited funding
- The poverty rate for children under age 18 was 21.9 percent in 2011
But poverty doesn’t just affect children:
- Without Social Security benefits, 43.6 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the official poverty line
- In 2009, 22 percent of students in Southern states lived in poverty; 15 percent in the Northeast; and 16 percent in the Midwest and West
- A quarter of jobs in the U.S. pay less than $23,000 annually and half pay below $34,000
Some of the most frightening facts about poverty relate to hunger:
- In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food-insecure households (33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children)
- In 2011, 5.1 percent of all U.S. households (6.1 million households) accessed emergency food from a food pantry one or more times
While the fight against poverty is a daunting one, we should remember that together we help millions of these families each year open bank accounts, purchase a savings bond, avoid hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees, enroll in benefits, and fill-out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
And the hard work and long hours you put into each day are part of a proven, tested method for lifting those families out of poverty and onto the path of financial security. So keep up the good fight!
By Brenna Murphy, Communications & Member Relations Intern