2001 Official Poverty Thresholds
Official poverty thresholds are the basis for determining eligibility for means-tested programs. They have come under intense scrutiny in recent years because of their failure to take into account differing family circumstances, variations in living expenses in different geographic locations, unique family needs and taxes, among other factors.
Official poverty thresholds are determined by pricing a market basket of food capable of sustaining a family in the short run and multiplying by three. Why? Because in the 1950s, a USDA study found that low-income families spent about a third of their income on food.
These publications may become outdated at any time due to
changes in programs and benefits. It is important to check with the
appropriate agency for current eligibility requirements and benefit
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