Poverty guidelines (for administrative purposes such as program eligibility) are derived from official, but more complex, Census poverty thresholds. For statistical and reporting purposes, the thresholds are the key statistical and computation measurement of poverty and income. The historical and contemporary issues with the official poverty measure are well documented and acknowledged (Citro and Michael 1995; Danziger and Haveman 2001; Pimpare 2008; Short 2013; Ver Ploeg, Moffitt, and Citro 2002), but purposefully utilized in this research due to the fact that they remain the official measure of the incidence of poverty and the proportion of the individual and family population considered poor (for specific poverty definitions, see the technical document U.S. Census Bureau 2013b).
The levels of poverty presented represent the income levels of individuals and families compared to these poverty thresholds. For the official statistical poverty threshold, 100% of poverty is the exact income level which acts as the official ‘poverty line’ based on the size of the family and number of children.