Federal Poverty Thresholds and Guidelines
Updated February 2013
The federal government provides two different measures of poverty. Poverty thresholds are used to calculate official statistics, and poverty guidelines are used to determine eligibility for certain programs.
Poverty thresholds are used to calculate official statistics, such the number of people in poverty each year. For example, in 2012, a single adult under 65 years of age is considered to be in poverty if his or her annual income is less than $11,945.
The poverty thresholds are updated each year and are available from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Poverty guidelines are simplified versions of the poverty thresholds that are used to determine income eligibility for certain programs. The U.S. Department of Human Services publishes poverty guidelines each year.