2018 World Day of the Poor

The poor man cried and the Lord heard him.

PSALM 34:6

"The World Day of the Poor wishes to be a small answer that the Church throughout the world gives to the poor of every kind and in every land, lest they think that their cry has gone unheard."

- Pope Francis, Second World Day of the Poor
Read the full message

How Catholic Charities Helps the Poor in America

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.

You Can Help Make a Difference

Ending poverty starts with you - become a part of the movement to lift 45 million Americans out of poverty and help change the lives of millions of others in need. Support Us
Catholic Charities USA monitors over 200 federal programs impacting millions of people who are poor and vulnerable.  Guided by Catholic social teaching, Catholic Charities USA weighs in on the most critical issues including:  Immigration and Refugee issues, Healthcare Reform, the Farm Bill and Federal Social Safety Net programs. Learn more about our Advocacy efforts here.
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Use the resources below in social media posts to educate your network about poverty in the United States and how they can help.

One way to bring about awareness of poverty is to conduct a Poverty Simulation in your parish, school or community. Learn more about how to host a poverty simulation

World Day of the Poor Resources

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Paying it Forward

“St. Patrick Center helped me build my self-esteem and gain courage to face my challenges.” Delnita had her first drink at eight years old. A child of alcoholics, she continued drinking during her youth and adult life. “Alcoholism ran in my family and played a big role in my homelessness.” Over the years, she also …