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Poverty level

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 is used to determine who is eligible for government benefits, such as subsidies to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. These benefits also include Head Start, family planning, 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 the 48 contiguous states. Alaska and Hawaii each have their own poverty level. The 2014 federal poverty levels were:

  • $11,670 for individuals
  • $15,730 for a family of 2
  • $19,790 for a family of 3
  • $23,850 for a family of 4
  • $27,910 for a family of 5
  • $31,970 for a family of 6
  • $36,030 for a family of 7
  • $40,090 for a family of 8

The federal poverty level for 2014 is used to calculate eligibility for benefits in 2015. 



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