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You can find detailed information about the Federal poverty levels at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/. Additionally, at this site is information on research related to the definition of poverty level.
Poverty thresholds are used for calculating all official poverty population statistics — for instance, figures on the number of Americans in poverty each year. They are updated each year by the Census Bureau.
The HHS poverty guidelines, or percentage multiples of them (such as 125 percent, 150 percent, or 185 percent), are used as an eligibility criterion by a number of federal programs. See our FAQs for the list of programs using poverty guidelines.
The Census Bureau uses a statistical sample to determine the percent of people in the United States who are living in poverty. They report that 45.3 million people lived in poverty in 2013 in the United States, which is 14.5 percent of the population. For more information, see: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/index.html.
The poverty guidelines may be used as soon as they are published in the Federal Register each year — usually in late January — unless a program has chosen to make them effective at a later date.
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