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This report shows the count and percent of Vermonters living in households with incomes at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level from 1960 to 2010. The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) represents the official threshold for living in poverty by household size and is set by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services each year. 

FPL is used to determine eligibility for many programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), 3SquaresVT, and the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP). FPL should not be confused with an inability to meet basic needs due to financial constraints. 

The Decennial Census Survey, conducted by the United States Census Bureau, is mandated by the United States Constitution. It is conducted every 10 years and has been in use since 1790. The last survey was conducted in 2010 and the next is scheduled for 2020. Decennial figures are based on actual counts of persons dwelling in residential structures in the United States. They include citizens, non-citizen legal residents, non-citizen long-term visitors, and undocumented immigrants.

Poverty data has been collected in the Decennial Census Survey since 1960. Poverty levels are calculated using monetary income thresholds, or the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. The income thresholds vary by family size and family makeup. If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered below the poverty level. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation. The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).

For more information about the Decennial Census Survey, poverty rates, or money income thresholds, please visit:

Poverty rates for each Decennial Census Survey year were calculated using the following formula:

([Population Count Below the Poverty Level for the Year] / [Population Count (All Income Levels) for the Year]) * 100

The potential for income underreporting and/or underreporting of population counts is relatively high due to the nature of the survey methodology. Thus, conclusions about associations using the poverty rates should be drawn with caution.