Yearly Census Poverty Data

January 22, 2019

Every year the Coalition on Human Needs examines the data released by the Census Bureau to learn about the state of poverty in our nation. We look for large indicators such as how much poverty has increased or decreased and for important indicators of social programs effectiveness in lifting people out of poverty.

(Note: If you are looking for the 2020 Census Campaign Page please click here.)

There are two major sources each year for this data:

  • The American Community Survey: an ongoing survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. It regularly gathers information previously contained only in the long form of the decennial census, such as ancestry, educational attainment, income, language proficiency, migration, disability, employment, and housing characteristics.
  • The Current Population Survey: the Current Population Survey (CPS), sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the United States.

Beginning in 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau began publishing the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which extends the official poverty measure by taking account of many of the government programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals that are not included in the official poverty measure.

Below you can find the reports, analysis, and infographics that CHN has produced each year:

2019 (documents released Fall 2019, using 2018 data)


2018 (documents released Fall 2018, using 2017 data)


2017 (documents released Fall 2017, using 2016 data)


2016 (documents released Fall 2016, using 2015 data)