- Wage growth has been dismal for many American workers, coinciding with record-low unemployment.
- The federal poverty line in America is $25,750 for a family of four, except in Alaska and Hawaii, where it’s $32,190 and $29,620, respectively.
- To better understand what it means to be “poor” in each state, we calculated the income it takes to be at the poverty level in every state based on buying power, or regional price parities.
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Depending on which state you live, your dollar may be worth a lot more — or a lot less.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 11.8% of the US population is living in poverty, which means they’re earning below $25,750 for a family of four, except in Alaska and Hawaii, where it’s $32,190 and $29,620, respectively.
But the cost of living varies from state to state, so in order to better understand what it means to be “poor” in each state, we used data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that indicates how far $100 goes in each state, known as buying power, or regional price parities. For example, a person in New York needs to spend $115.80 to get the same goods that a person in Delaware pays $100.10 for, whereas a Mississippi resident would pay $85.70.
Based on this buying power, we then calculated how much a family of four actually to needs to make to be at the poverty line. Based on the example above, a New York family must earn $29,818 to have the buying power of a typical American family at the poverty line, whereas the threshold for a Delaware or Mississippi family is lower — $25,776 and $22,067, respectively.
Below, see what’s considered “poor” in every state, ranked from lowest to highest salary needed to be at the poverty line based on buying power.
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