The share of the U.S. population with incomes below the poverty level dropped between 2017 and 2018 — the fifth consecutive annual drop, according to new American Community Survey (ACS) estimates released today.
The 1-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 ACS show declines in poverty in 14 states and Puerto Rico and in seven of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.
The poverty rate declined in seven of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. It dropped for the fourth consecutive year in five of these seven areas. Poverty did not increase in 2018 for any of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.
Planners, policymakers and community stakeholders use poverty estimates to evaluate trends and current economic conditions in their communities. The ACS data allows them to make detailed comparisons across demographic groups.
In addition, federal and state governments often use these estimates to allocate funds to communities. Government agencies and local organizations regularly use the data to identify the number of individuals and families eligible for various assistance programs.
The Census Bureau also publishes poverty estimates based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). For information on poverty estimates from the ACS and how they differ from those based on the CPS ASEC, see this factsheet.
Comparisons between 2017 and 2018 for Delaware and the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area are not made in this article.
Craig Benson and Alemayehu Bishaw are survey statisticians in the Social, Economics and Housing Statistics Division's Poverty Statistics Branch.