The official poverty rate in the United States was 14.5 percent in 2013, down from 15 percent in 2012 — the first year-over-year decline since 2006, a report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds.
Based on data from the 2014 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, the report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 (72 pages, PDF), found that 45.3 million people were living at or below the federal poverty level in 2013. The report also found that the poverty rate among children under the age of 18 fell to 19.9 percent (14.7 million people), from 21.8 percent (16.1 million) in 2012 — the first decline since 2000. Both the percentage and number of families in poverty fell slightly on a year-over-year basis, from 11.8 percent (9.5 million) to 11.2 percent (9.1 million).
In addition, the report found that median household income in 2013 was $51,939 — marking the second consecutive year, after two years in which median income declined, that the change was not statistically significant. Among racial/ethnic groups, only Latinos saw statistically significant changes in poverty or income in 2013, with the poverty rate for Latinos increasing from 23.5 percent in 2012 to 25.6 percent in 2013, even as real median household income for Latinos rose 3.5 percent, from $39,572 to $40,963. According to the report, the Gini Index, a measure of income inequality, did not show a statistically significant change on a year-over-year basis but has increased 4.9 percent since 1993, the earliest year for which data is available.
Charles T. Nelson, a Census Bureau official, told the New York Times that an increase in the number of people working full-time year-round, in particular adults in households with children, was partly responsible for the decline in the poverty rate.