Learn About Poverty in the United States

10 Ways To Address Poverty in America

Educate yourself about poverty in your community and in the United States. Learn more

Identify an issue (such as affordable housing, integrated health, nutrition, disaster operations) you are passionate about and can take action on. Learn more

Familiar yourself with legislation and policy proposals that impact low-income families and individuals.

Reach out to those living in poverty in your community by participating in parish and community activities and service.

Identify existing resources or groups working on your issue in your community.

Pray for those whose lives are impacted by poverty.
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Share what you have learned with others in your community and encourage them to take action too.

Let your voice be heard by involving yourself in advocacy activities at the local, state and national levels.

Learn about volunteering with Catholic Charities in your community. Find a Catholic Charities agency near you

Support Catholic Charities’ efforts.
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National Poverty Facts

What Poverty Looks Like in the United States

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2017, out of 325.7 million people, 39.7 million people lived in poverty in the United States.  That means the poverty rate for 2017 was 12.3%.  This number is determined by the federal Government’s official poverty threshold, which in 2017 for a family of four is about $24,600.

In 2017, the median income for family households was $77,713,  while the median income for nonfamily households was $36,650.

Source: US Census Bureau; Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017

In 2017, 17.5% of all children (12.8 million) lived in poverty.

That means nearly 1 in 5 children live in poverty.

Though the official census data gives seniors a 2017 poverty rate of only 9.2%, the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for expenses such as the rising costs of health care, raises the senior poverty rate to 14.1%.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimated that 11.8% of US households were food insecure in 2017.  This means that approximately 15 million households had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in 2017, 553,742 people in the United States were homeless and 25% of the entire group were children.  83,170 individuals or 15% of the homeless population are chronically homeless, which means they often have a disability and have experienced homelessness for a year or longer.


Educate yourself about poverty in your community and in the United States. Learn more

Identify an issue (such as affordable housing, integrated health, nutrition, disaster operations) you are passionate about and can take action on. Learn more

Familiar yourself with legislation and policy proposals that impact low-income families and individuals.

Reach out to those living in poverty in your community by participating in parish and community activities and service.

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