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Census Bureau: Roughly 1 Million Greater Houston Residents Living In Poverty

Greater Houston is one of only a handful of the nation's largest metro areas that saw poverty rates drop last year. But this is one front on which the region has yet to recover from the Great Recession.


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In its latest American Community Survey, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Greater Houston’s poverty rate fell by one percentage point in 2012 compared to 2011. That still left the region with 16.4% of its residents living below the poverty line.

“That’s about a million people who are getting by on a relatively low income, and may have trouble making ends meet even with that level of income.”

Elizabeth Kneebone is a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. She says while Houston is improving, it still has a lot of ground to make up.

“That 16.4% poverty rate is still almost two percentage points higher than back in 2007.”

The national poverty rate in 2012 was just 15%. The Census Bureau set the federal poverty line as an annual income of roughly $23,500 a year to support a family of four.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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