Special Report

25 Facts of Life the Federal Poverty Rate Completely Ignores

Source: mediaphotos / Getty Images

11. Incarceration

There are over 1.5 million Americans currently incarcerated in state or federal prisons, but they are not counted as part of the official poverty estimate.

Source: Bumblee_Dee / Getty Images

12. Military servicemen and women

There are over 1.3 million members of the U.S. military in active duty. Anyone residing in military barracks is not accounted for in the official poverty estimate.

Source: SeanZeroThree / Getty Images

13. College dorm residents

There are almost 20 million Americans attending colleges and universities in 2019, a large share of them living in college dorms, but those are not counted in the official poverty rate.

Source: SolStock / Getty Images

14. Nursing home residents

People living in group living facilities of any kind, including nursing homes, are not counted in the federal poverty measurement.

Source: Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

15. Homeless people

The single group facing the most economic distress, the nation’s homeless population, is not counted as part of the poverty rate. According to one estimate, over 500,000 Americans are homeless.