We developed a new approach to measuring and counting the number of people who need assistance. The current poverty line is a national standard that inadequately represents the level of income needed to live for a sustained period of time without assistance. We have calculated new relative income standards that are based on 50% of median income for every county in the country. These locally-based income standards reflect the resources required to live within a community.
We chose an anchored, relative income standard rather than an absolute threshold like self-sufficiency standards because we wanted our income standards to be simple to calculate and replicate. Rather than enter the discussion about how to best define minimum needs and self-sufficiency, we want to be a steward in developing solutions to poverty and coalitions to implement the solutions.
Using our National Poverty Plan Standards (NPPS), we estimate that more than 75 million Americans fall below that level. Poverty and the lack of economic opportunity in this country have reached epidemic proportions.
Read more about our methodology below or on a new page.