All Vermonters are Free from the Impacts of Poverty and 3 more...less... Download Data

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Percent of population living at or below the Federal Poverty Level

12%2017

Notes on Methodology

The share of all people who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In calendar year 2019, a family of two adults and two children fell in the “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $25,750. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children). The data are based on income received in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Data source: US Census Bureau/Annie E. Casey Foundation KidsCount Data Center

Last updated: September 2019

Updated by: Vermont Department for Children and Families

Story Behind the Curve

We want to reduce the percentage of the population living below the Federal Poverty Level as part of our efforts to ensure that all Vermonters are healthy.


In Vermont, the percentage of individuals living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) has remained static since 2012, around 12%. This trend is lower than the national average of 16%. The percentage of individuals living in poverty has increased from a low of 9% in 2004 to 12% in 2016. However, the effects of poverty are significantly mitigated by safety net programs (source). In 2016, approximately 71,000 Vermonters lived in poverty.

The FPL is calculated by multiplying the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “economy food plan” by three, based on data collected in the 1950s that found that food costs approximated one-third of a family's budget. Today, food comprises far less than one-third of a family’s expenses, while housing, transportation, and child care costs have grown disproportionately (source). Therefore, individuals living below the Federal Poverty Level will struggle to meet their basic needs.

AHS is currently using this tool to assess our agency contribution to reducing the rate of poverty in Vermont. One Agency cannot turn the curve alone; there are many partners who have a role to play making a difference.

Partners

Poverty in Vermont is a population-level problem. Many partners, including those identified below, have a role to play in improving this population-level indicator for the state of Vermont.

  • Agency of Human Services
    • Department for Children and Families
      • Child Development Division
      • Disability Determination Services
      • Economic Services Division
      • Family Services Division
      • Office of Child Support
      • Office of Economic Opportunity
    • Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living
      • Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Department of Vermont Health Access
      • Vermont Health Connect
    • Vermont Department of Health
      • Evidence-based Home Visiting
  • Department of Labor
    • Unemployment Insurance
  • Community Action Agencies
  • Building Bright Futures
  • Governor's Council on Pathways from Poverty
  • Vermont Child Poverty Council
  • Voices for Vermont's Children
What Works

Effective anti-poverty programs should:

  • Build assets;
  • Promote early childhood development;
  • Support disadvantaged youth;
  • Build skills; and
  • Improve the safety net and work supports.

Sources: Brookings Institute, Ford Foundation

Strategy

Initiatives across the Agency of Human Services aim to support individuals living in poverty. DCF initiatives that aim to reduce the poverty rate include:

Scorecard Result Program Indicator Performance Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy