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Poverty and twice-poverty rates,1959–2011

Note: The poverty rate is the share of the U.S. population with income below the official poverty line (where income is measured in terms of family income for persons in families and individual income otherwise) and the twice-poverty rate is the share with income below twice the official poverty line. Shaded areas denote recessions.

Source: Authors' analysis of Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement Historical Poverty Tables (Tables 2 and 5)

Updated September 13, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Underlying data are from Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement Historical Poverty Tables, Table 2, “Poverty Status, by Family Relationship, Race, and Hispanic Origin,” and Table 5, “Percent of People by Ratio of Income to Poverty Level.”

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