The new U.S. Census data on poverty and household income was just released. While the official poverty rate was 10.5% last year, the level varies sharply from state to state. In Mississippi, the figure is 19.1%, or 82% higher than the national average. State figures are based on an average of three years, so the 82% increase is not entirely accurate. However, even with adjustments, the number is grim.
The official poverty rate has been questioned, although that does not make the Mississippi number less troubling. The Census Bureau also issues a Supplementary Poverty Measure, which shows a national rate of 11.7%. The difference between 10.5% and 11.7% is programs that “lift” people above the poverty level. They are primarily tax credits and Social Security.
The poverty rate measurement for states averages three years (2017, 2018, 2019) to get a statistically stable set of numbers. Based on this measure, the national poverty rate is 11.5%. The Mississippi figure should be measured against that number. That puts the figure for the southern state 66% above the total. The widest contrast with any other state is that between Mississippi and New Hampshire, where the poverty rate is 5.6%.
These are the official poverty rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, based on the 2017, 2018 and 2019 weighting measure.
|Location||People in Poverty (thousands)||Rate|
|District of Columbia||96||1.1|