Just The Facts

9 Facts: Race and Poverty in America

Half a century into the war on poverty in the United States, how are minorities faring?

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  • Did Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty in the United States have a winner? #JustTheFacts
  • The US has fought fifty years against #poverty. Some races have benefited more from the fight than others.
  • Despite a long fight for #civilrights and against poverty, #AfricanAmericans remain by far the poorest in the US.

1. The poverty rate for white, non-Hispanic Americans — who account for 62.8% of all Americans — was 9.7% in 2012.

2. According to Census Bureau data, a person was living in poverty if, for instance, they lived in a four-person household with income of $23,492 or less.

3. White Americans have the lowest poverty rate of the four major racial groups in the United States.

4. For Hispanic Americans (of any race) — who make up 17.1% of the U.S. population — the poverty rate was 25.6%.

5. With one in every four Hispanic Americans living in poverty, this group exhibits the second-highest poverty rate among the major U.S. racial groups.

6. 11.7% of Asian Americans — the smallest of the four racial groups, accounting for 5.3% of the U.S. population — lived below the poverty line in 2012.

7. The U.S. racial group with the highest poverty rate is black Americans.

9. In 2012, 27.2% of black Americans — who account for 12.9% of the U.S. population — were living in poverty.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Table 3 (People in Poverty by Selected Characteristics: 2011 and 2012), with analysis by The Globalist

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