2017 poverty rates by state

As we indicated in our last post we would be reporting on the poverty rates by state. The information below came out a couple months ago and is based on 2017 Census data, including the including the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements.

When it comes to what income puts classifies someone as living in poverty, this threshold is determined by the federal government. They set this dollar figure at the national level. But each state and/or city may try to determine their own poverty guidelines, but those will be “un-official” numbers. In addition, one of the downsides of the federal government setting poverty levels is the cost of living varies widely in this nation. As 40K per year in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, NYC, or other big cities does not go that far. But 40K in some lower cost parts of the country, such as cities in Georgia or the SW, and you would be in better shape.

Here are the latest poverty income levels as set by the federal government.

One person – $12,140
Family of 2 – $16,460
Family of 3 – $20,780
Family of 4 – $25,100
5 person household – $29,420
6 person household – $33,740
Family of 7 – $38,060
8 Person home – $42,380

Now if there are more than 8 people in the home or apartment, poverty guidelines “allow” you to add 4,320 of income for each additional person.

Now we hope someone who was struggling, or did not have good employment prospects or that faced challenges, we truly hope they did not have children. Not until at least they built a solid financial footing for themselves. Or if they did have a kid, then at the very least they did not have multiple children. As the poverty levels above show what could happen based on family size and income.

As it is sad to us to see people with no financial stability or realistic plan to be stable (or who are already living in poverty) have children, which can very well perpetuate the cycle of poverty. As all that does is cause the child to often have emotional and financial stress due to their parents financial hardship as reported by the Salvation Army and other experts. In fact, even the Salvation Army says that millions of children go without food, housing, Christmas gifts and more because of the struggles of their parents. We get many emails from people saying they are struggling and have 5, 6, 7, 8 or more kids, so we also see that on a first hand basis.

While like we have written about the fact that there are many causes to poverty, and different people often have different opinions as to what causes it, there are also no straightforward or easy solutions to it either. But we are convinced that one of the causes is when families that are in poverty now (or that are low income, financially unprepared, etc.) have children, as it helps build the cycle. We see that here at needhelppayingbills.com from the emails we get.

Now of course there are those irresponsible adults who have children when they are not prepared to do so, but there are also those parents who were very well prepared (financially and in other ways), but they hit a financial hardship. That is a completely different scenario to us. As they did the right thing but hit a bump in their lives, and we always hope they can get back on track.

In either case, the data on poverty by state in 2017 is below. We also have information on the main site on job training programs, placement activities, starting a business, work from home, etc. for those who are low income and/or are in poverty who want more income or skills. As we admire those who work themselves out of a hardship or a low income “status” (and who do not say inherit money) and maybe make it to that 1% by state.

The latest poverty levels by state for 2017 (by percent)

Alabama 16.2
Alaska 12.6
Arizona 16.1
Arkansas 16
California 13.9
Colorado 8.5
Connecticut 9.8
Delaware 11.6
Florida 13
Georgia 15.4
Hawaii 9.3
Idaho 11.1
Illinois 12.1
Indiana 11.8
Iowa 9.8
Kansas 11.2
Kentucky 15.2
Louisiana 20.2
Maine 12.7
Maryland 7.1
Massachusetts 9.6
Michigan 11.1
Minnesota 8.7
Mississippi 21.1
Missouri 13
Montana 11.7
Nebraska 9.6
Nevada 10.1
New Hampshire 6.4
New Jersey 9.4
New Mexico 17.8
New York 11.9
North Carolina 13.6
North Dakota 11.1
Ohio 13.7
Oklahoma 14.6
Oregon 11.8
Pennsylvania 11.1
Rhode Island 11.4
South Carolina 14.1
South Dakota 14.5
Tennessee 14.9
Texas 13.8
Utah 8.6
Vermont 9.6
Virginia 11.4
Washington 11
West Virginia 18
Wisconsin 10.7
Wyoming 10.9


  1. ElizabethRios

    Poverty in America is can be, but is not always self-inflicted. This is just sometimes rich tell the poor. I think the facts is the rich and politicians in these states just want to continue to take advantage of and exploit the poor. Companies continue to pay people sub-standard incomes, if not subhuman wages. It happens some in the US, states but much worst all across the world.

    It is sad that the world seems to not have evolved, as there are always poor and rich in all states, cities, and countries. The world t has not changed for last hundreds (if not thousands of years), except technologically.

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