Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published by the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Copyright 2009 Regents of the University of Nebraska.


Data recently released by the Census Bureau estimate that 47.4 million Americans, or about one-insix, are living in poverty. This latest estimate has drawn criticism from some observers who see it as an attempt to artificially inflate the magnitude of poverty in America. The criticism results from a change in methodology that included not just income (the Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget (OMB) poverty threshold for 2009 is $22,050 a year for a family of four), but also made adjustments, taking into account such things as region, out-of-pocket medical expenses and child care costs, that in total add about seven-million individuals to the poverty population.