The percent of poverty level shows how your income compares to the poverty level.
Each year in January, the U.S. government sets a federal poverty level. That is the income amount that defines who can get some government benefits. These benefits are Head Start, family planning, health insurance for children (called CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP, which used to be called Food Stamps), school meal programs, and many others.
The poverty level is the same for 48 states. Alaska and Hawaii each have their own poverty level. The poverty level changes based on the number of people in your family.
In 2013, the federal poverty level for a family of four was $23,550. The federal poverty level for a household of one was $11,490.
Here are some examples:
- Let's say you have a family of four and your family makes $18,840 in 2013. Your income is at 80% of the federal poverty level ($18,840 ÷ $23,550 = 0.8, or 80%).
- If your family makes $35,325 in 2013, your income is at 150% of the federal poverty level ($35,325 ÷ $23,550 = 1.5, or 150%).