The Census Bureau is the federal agency that prepares statistics on the number of people in poverty in the United States. To obtain figures on the number of people in poverty since 1959, visit the Poverty section of the Census Bureau’s web site, or contact the Census Bureau’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll-free), or visit http://ask.census.gov.
The Census Bureau’s poverty statistics represent the number of people below the Census Bureau poverty thresholds. Neither the Census Bureau nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prepare tabulations of the number of people below the HHS poverty guidelines, which are a simplified version of the poverty thresholds used for program eligibility purposes. The best approximation for the number of people below the HHS poverty guidelines in a particular area would be the number of persons below the Census Bureau poverty thresholds in that area.