Last month the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5%, down from 15% in 2012. The drop was not statistically significant because of the margin of error possible in the survey. There was also no significant change in median household income, which in 2013 stood at $51,939.
The survey report – Income and Poverty in the United Sates: 2013 – is part of the Current Population Reports (CPR), which offer the most complete and thorough estimates available from government sources. The survey includes the resident civilian noninstitutionalized population; people in prisons and nursing homes are not interviewed and the homeless are not included.
Income counted in the report includes not only earnings but also a wide array of other sources, including unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, social security, disability benefits, alimony and public assistance.
For some historical perspective on poverty rates from 1959 to 2013, the report offers this chart: