2017 Poverty Data Now Available

2017 Census Poverty Data Release: Montana Continues to Lower Rates

Economic security for most Montanans continued to improve in 2017, according to data released through the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Last year, over 127,000 Montanans (12.5%) and over 32,000 Montana kids (14.7%) lived below the poverty line, which is an income of just over $2,000 per month for a family of four. Poverty rates for key demographics in 2015, 2016, and 2017 can be found in the table below. Poverty and food insecurity go hand-in-hand, making it crucial that we continue to invest in programs that lift people out of poverty and support policies to strengthen our economy.

The official poverty rate is based solely on income, ignoring the impacts of public assistance programs and the actual costs of living. Beginning in 2009, the Census Bureau also began calculating the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which adds the value of assistance programs such as SNAP to a household’s income and takes regional differences of cost of living into account. Using the SPM, 10.1% of Montanans lived in poverty on average between 2015 and 2017, highlighting the role of public programs in lifting people out of poverty.

The good news is that overall and child poverty rates have continued to drop in the last few years, and low-income assistance programs are helping Montanans rise above the poverty line. Yet, some key demographics have struggled to match the improvement. By continuing to improve the economic security of our struggling neighbors, we can end hunger in Montana.

Highlights of Poverty Rates for Key Demographics:

*American Indian Poverty Margin of Error: 2015, (+/- 4.4), 2016, (+/- 3.8); 2017, (+/-5.1)
**American Deep Poverty Margin of Error: 2015, (+/- 2.9); 2016, (+/- 2.6); 2017, (+/- 4.2)

Questions on the data? Want more info? Contact Seanna Pieper-Jordan at [email protected] or (406) 215-1771.

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