Up $1.37 Per Day…2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines Issued

Wow, they raised the poverty line for a family of four by $1.37 a day!

Glenn Koenen

Yes, the official federal poverty level guidelines for a family of four increased from $24,600 in 2017 to $25,100 in 2018, a whopping 2% jump!

Federal Poverty Level – Annual Income

# In Family         2017          2018

1               $12,060     $12,140

2               $16,240     $12,460

3               $20,420     $20,780

4               $24,600     $25,100

5               $28,780     $29,420

6               $32,960     $33,740

Actually, the feds rounded-up.  Based on the inflation measures Washington uses, the 2018 poverty level could have increased by just 1.6% – to about $24,990.

Note that for single households the poverty level raised just over 2/3 of 1% and for couples the increase was about 1.4% while a family of six posted an increase of 2.4%.  Since the greatest portion of American households have less than three members (the average household size is just over 2.5 people, per the census), that means the poverty line climbed less than 2% for most American households.

The United States Department of Agriculture played a little game with their mess of stats last year.  Starting in October 2017 most food stamp allocations declined by about 1½% due to a change in the math for energy cost and use.  While the new poverty guidelines are legal to use now, Missouri (and most states) won’t begin to give folks credit for the higher income limits till October 2018.  The numbers will then be in force until the end of September 2019.

Since the 2018 guidelines are based on 2017 updates to 2016 data, well, the maximum income for a food stamp family in September 2019 will be determined by the July 2016 cost of living.

Of course, I realize that no one can keep their family healthy and financially stable on a poverty level income.  To provide the stability envisioned back in the 1960’s my best guess is that a St. Louis area family of four needs at least $40,000, meaning a single breadwinner making $19.25 an hour or a pair of adults working a combined 72 hours a week at $10.65 an hour.   Think two “full-time” jobs at Walmart.

For more details:  https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines and Empower MO 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Submitted by Glenn Koenen, WCD Member

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