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.