Number and percentage of residents living below the poverty level (poverty rate)


As of 2019, the number of residents living below the poverty level (poverty rate) in Austin was estimated to be 116,046 and the percentage was 12.2%. This indicator helps inform an understanding of the current state of the community such as the quality of life of residents and health of the local economy, and also serves as a measure to understand the scale of need for local support and access to resources. The next update will require the use of the ACS 2020 1-year estimate data. Unfortunately, data collection for this release has been severely impacted by COVID.


The most recent result of 12.2% showed no significant change from the reporting percentage of 13.3% during the prior year (2018).
The percentage of those living below the poverty level in Austin has been on the decline since 2010. There has been a dramatic decrease since the decennial Census reporting year 2010, when a percentage of 20.8% was reported, indicating a decrease over 7%.
Note: To see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.

Additional Measure Insights

The city is at approximately the same estimated rate of those living below the poverty level as the national average, which was reported at 12.3%.  This is higher than the rate for the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area, which is estimated to be at 10.1%. The state of Texas has among the highest rates in the U.S, at a rate of 13.6% 2019.Overall, the trend nationally has been a decline in poverty; since 2014, the national poverty rate has fallen 4.3 percentage points, from 14.8% to 10.5%. 

The reporting for those at 200 percent of the poverty level was estimated to be a total of 260,882, or 27.3% of the population of the City of Austin. The Austin-Round Rock - Georgetown metropolitan was reported to have 23.6% of its total population at the 200 percent poverty level.

Measure Details and Definition

1) Definition:  This measure answers the question of what number and percentage of residents  are living below the federal poverty level, which means they meet certain threshold set by a set of parameters and computation performed by the Census Bureau. 
2) Calculation method: Following the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. 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. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps). Learn more about how the Census computes poverty at the link here.
3) Data Collection Process: Data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Communities Survey (1yr), Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months (Table S1701). American Communities Survey (ACS) is a survey with sampled statistics on the citywide level and is subject to a margin of error. ACS sample size and data quality measures can be found on the U.S. Census website in the Methodology section. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on data collection, there are no reliable estimates available from the 2020 ACS 1Yr.
4) Measure Target Calculation: There is no target for this measure.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Calendar Year)
Date page was last updated: October 2022