The poverty rate for all African Americans in 2012 was 28.1% which is an increase from 25.5% in 2005.  Actually the poverty rate increased between 2005 and 2012 for every demographic of African Americans except those ages 65 and over who experienced a decrease from 21.2% to 19%. Black families with children under 18 headed by a single mother have the highest rate of poverty at 47.5 compared to only 8.4% percent of married-couple Black families.

Black Poverty 2012 Statistics chart


Camden_NJ_poverty smThe amount of African Americans who receive public assistance varies greatly depending on the type of assistance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 11.5% of African Americans live in government housing or section 8 housing while 13.6% receive TANF cash assistance (formerly referred to as welfare checks). Just over 25% of African Americans receive SNAP benefits formerly known as Food Stamps. All of these statistics include those who actually receive the assistance and those who live with them. The largest benefit received by Blacks is Medicaid health insurance which mostly consists of children.

2009 public assistance chart 2

What is Poverty

(by Shandira Pavelcik)

As of 2009, 43.6 million Americans are living in poverty. The official poverty threshold is $21,756 annually for families having two adults and two children (family of 4). That threshold increases based on a family paying for food, clothing, shelter, utilities and medical expenditures, in which it is raised to a threshold rate of $29,602.(2009). For African Americans, the poverty rate increased in 2009 to 25.8%, 9.9 million. The unemployment rate for Blacks in America is at 2.9 million and is 16% of the total unemployment statistics. However, only persons that are actively seeking employment are counted in that rate.

According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that supplies data to the U.S. Census Bureau: If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. People and families are classified as being in poverty if their income is less than their poverty threshold. If their income is less than half their poverty threshold, they are below 50% of poverty; less than the threshold itself, they are in poverty (below 100% of poverty); less than 1.25 times the threshold, below 125% of poverty, and so on. The greater the ratio of income to poverty, the more people fall under the category, because higher ratios include more people with higher incomes.

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Middle Class
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