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Here's the income it takes for a family of 4 to be considered poor in every state

Business Insider Logo By Hillary Hoffower and Erin McDowell of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 52: Wage growth has been dismal for many American workers, despite signs of a strong economy. The federal poverty line in America is $25,100, except in Alaska and Hawaii, where it's $31,380 and $28,870, respectively. To better understand what it means to be "poor" in each state, we calculated the income it takes to be at the poverty level in every state based on buying power. Wage growth has been dismal for many American workers, despite signs of a strong economy. According to the United States Census Bureau, 12.3% of the US population is living in poverty, which means they're earning below $25,100, except in Alaska and Hawaii, where it's $31,380 and $28,870, respectively. But cost of living varies from state to state, so in order to better understand what it means to be "poor" in each state, we used data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that indicates how far $100 goes in each state, known as buying power. For example, a person in New York needs to spend $115.60 to get the same goods that a person in Delaware pays $100 for, whereas a Mississippi resident would pay $86. Based on this buying power, we then calculated how much a family of four actually to needs to make to be at the poverty line. Based on the example above, a New York family must earn $29,016 to have the buying power of a typical American family at the poverty line, whereas the threshold for a Delaware or Mississippi family is lower - $25,677 and $21,686, respectively. Below, see what's considered "poor" in every state, ranked from lowest to highest salary needed to be at the poverty line based on buying power.

Editor's note: This November, Microsoft News is focusing on the issue of Poverty and its affects around all of us. A closer look at income inequality reveals that in today’s world of unaffordable housing, crippling college debt, climate change and other forms of marginalization, traditional stereotypes and assumptions about who lives in poverty no longer apply. As part of this project, we are proud to support the work of Feeding America to address both the immediate needs of people who are struggling, as well as the root causes. Please consider making a donation today.


  • Wage growth has been dismal for many American workers, despite signs of a strong economy.
  • The federal poverty line in America is $25,100, except in Alaska and Hawaii, where it's $31,380 and $28,870, respectively.
  • To better understand what it means to be "poor" in each state, we calculated the income it takes to be at the poverty level in every state based on buying power.

Wage growth has been dismal for many American workers, despite signs of a strong economy.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 12.3% of the US population is living in poverty, which means they're earning below $25,100, except in Alaska and Hawaii, where it's $31,380 and $28,870, respectively.

But cost of living varies from state to state, so in order to better understand what it means to be "poor" in each state, we used data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that indicates how far $100 goes in each state, known as buying power. For example, a person in New York needs to spend $115.60 to get the same goods that a person in Delaware pays $100 for, whereas a Mississippi resident would pay $86.

Based on this buying power, we then calculated how much a family of four actually to needs to make to be at the poverty line. Based on the example above, a New York family must earn $29,016 to have the buying power of a typical American family at the poverty line, whereas the threshold for a Delaware or Mississippi family is lower - $25,677 and $21,686, respectively.

Below, see what's considered "poor" in every state, ranked from lowest to highest salary needed to be at the poverty line based on buying power.

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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