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While they say little about economic ups and downs in the decade between Censuses, income and poverty data provide us with economic "snapshots" of an area at the time of enumeration that can in turn be compared with economic data gathered from earlier Censuses. Poverty status, as measured in this chart, is determined by Poverty Thresholds, which take into account a number of factors, including income and family size and structure. For example, the 2000 Poverty Threshold for a family of four in the continental United States with two related children was 17,463. However, Poverty Thresholds are misleading because they do not provide an accurate picture of what a “poor” family’s life is like. According to the National Center for Children in poverty, most families of four would have to make twice their assigned Poverty Threshold in order to provide their children with basic necessities, such as housing, food, and health care.

Poverty by Age, 1990 and 2000
1990 2000
Number Percent Number Percent
Total Population* 241,977,859 100.00% 273,882,232 100.00%
In Poverty 31,742,864 13.12% 33,899,812 12.38%
Not in Poverty 210,234,995 86.88% 239,982,420 87.62%
11 Years and Under 42,791,386 17.68% 47,224,465 17.24%
In Poverty 8,201,930 3.39% 8,250,262 3.01%
Not in Poverty 34,589,456 14.29% 38,974,203 14.23%
12 to 17 Years 19,814,133 8.19% 23,700,796 8.65%
In Poverty 3,226,986 1.33% 3,496,596 1.28%
Not in Poverty 16,587,147 6.85% 20,204,200 7.38%
18 to 64 Years 149,809,693 61.91% 169,610,423 61.93%
In Poverty 16,533,363 6.83% 18,865,180 6.89%
Not in Poverty 133,276,330 55.08% 150,745,243 55.04%
65 Years and Above 29,562,647 12.22% 33,346,548 12.18%
In Poverty 3,780,585 1.56% 3,287,774 1.20%
Not in Poverty 25,782,062 10.65% 30,058,774 10.98%

* The total population is the population for which poverty status is determined. Therefore, the total in this table should not be expected to match the total population in the population growth topic.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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