In 2011, 16.1 percent of the population or 49.7 million people lived below the poverty line. These data offer a more comprehensive picture of poverty by taking into account factors such as work expenses and medical costs that push families into poverty. They also provide crucial information on the effectiveness of work and income supports in lifting families above the poverty line.
The Supplemental Poverty Measure shows that refundable tax credits such as the earned income and child tax credits kept 8.7 million people out of poverty in 2011, and that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program lifted 4.7 million people above the poverty line. In contrast, factors such as medical out-of-pocket costs and work expenses pushed 10.6 million and 5.3 million people into poverty, respectively.
To find out more about this year’s supplemental poverty measure, download our fact sheet here.