by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
We often hear references to the federal poverty level when discussing government welfare programs. I always get confused when I hear it in the form of a percentage since I don’t know what the poverty level is in terms of salary. The simple answer is…it depends.
The poverty level for one person is $11,670 per year. It changes and increases depending on the number of people in the household. For each additional person you add roughly $4,060 to the annual amount, depending on which percentage of the poverty level you are discussing. The higher the percentage, the more you add.
Because it’s so complicated and depends on the percentage and the number of people in the household, the federal government publishes a table of Federal Poverty Guidelines. Below is the chart for 2014.