Q: I saw a statistic about how many people are living in poverty. What does that mean?
The United States Bureau of the Census measures poverty by comparing household income to the poverty threshold for a household of a given size. The poverty threshold is adjusted each year to take account of changes in the cost-of-living. The poverty threshold is not, however, representative of what a family actually needs for a decent living.
For 2014, the weighted average threshold for a family of four was $24,418. This means that a family of four is considered to be living in poverty if their income is at or below $24,418 per year.
Previous years can be found on the Census Bureau website.
Poverty Guidelines are what Federal Government uses to determine eligability for certain federal programs. Within the contiguous 48 states and the District of Columbia, the 2015 Guideline for a family of four is $24,250. More information and guidelines can be found on the Department of Health & Human Services website.