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Percent of population living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level


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Notes on Methodology

The share of all people who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In calendar year 2017, a family of two adults and two children fell in the 200% “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $49,200. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children). The data are based on income received in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Data source: US Census Bureau/American Community Survey

Last updated: October, 2017

Updated by: Department for Children and Families

Story Behind the Curve

We want to reduce the percentage of the population living below the Federal Poverty Level as part of our efforts to ensure that all Vermonters are healthy.

In Vermont, the percentage of individuals living below the 200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) has seen a slight decline since a high of 30% in 2010 to 27% in 2016. In 2016, approximately 163,000 Vermonters lived at this level.

The FPL is calculated by multiplying the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “economy food plan” by three, based on data collected in the 1950s that found that food costs approximated one-third of a family's budget. Today, food comprises far less than one-third of a family’s expenses, while housing, transportation, and child care costs have grown disproportionately (source). Therefore, individuals living below the Federal Poverty Level will struggle to meet their basic needs.

AHS is currently using this tool to assess our agency contribution to reducing the rate of poverty in Vermont. One Agency cannot turn the curve alone; there are many partners who have a role to play making a difference.


Poverty in Vermont is a population-level problem. Many partners, including those identified below, have a role to play in improving this population-level indicator for the state of Vermont.

  • Agency of Human Services
    • Department for Children and Families
      • Child Development Division
      • Disability Determination Services
      • Economic Services Division
      • Family Services Division
      • Office of Child Support
      • Office of Economic Opportunity
    • Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living
      • Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Department of Vermont Health Access
      • Vermont Health Connect
    • Vermont Department of Health
      • Evidence-based Home Visiting
  • Department of Labor
    • Unemployment Insurance
  • Community Action Agencies
  • Building Bright Futures
  • Governor's Council on Pathways from Poverty
  • Vermont Child Poverty Council
  • Voices for Vermont's Children
What Works

Effective anti-poverty programs should:

  • Build assets;
  • Promote early childhood development;
  • Support disadvantaged youth;
  • Build skills; and
  • Improve the safety net and work supports.

Sources: Brookings InstituteFord Foundation


Initiatives across the Agency of Human Services aim to support individuals living in poverty. DCF initiatives that aim to reduce the poverty rate include:


Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy