DefinitionThe estimated percentage of persons living in households whose income is at or below the federal poverty level.
NumeratorEstimated number of persons living in households whose income is below 100% of the federal poverty level as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
DenominatorEstimated number of persons in the population.
Data Interpretation IssuesThe U.S. Poverty Guidelines are published in January of each year, and may be found online at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/.
Beginning with the year 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau switched from the Current Population Survey as a data source for these data to the American Community Survey.
Poverty estimates from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program are modeled, using ACS data as inputs, and are considered more accurate than estimates directly from the American Community Survey (ACS). Data views for NM and U.S. by year, county, and U.S. States are from SAIPE. Estimates for NM Small Areas, health regions, and race/ethnicity are not available on SAIPE, so the ACS 5-year poverty estimates have been used for those data views.
Population size estimates from the UNM Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) program are considered more accurate for New Mexico. For the county, New Mexico by year, Small Area, and health region data views, the poverty percentage estimates were applied to the GPS population estimates to calculate counts and population size. GPS population estimates are not available for U.S. states or school districts, so the SAIPE population estimates were used for those data views. The race/ethnicity categories provided by the U.S. Census do not match those used by NMDOH, so the population estimates provided are ACS 5-year estimates.
Why Is This Important?Poverty takes into account both income and family size, and has both immediate and long-lasting effects on health. Income provides an assessment of the financial resources available to individual persons or families for basic necessities (e.g., food, clothing, and health care) to maintain or improve their well-being. Persons living in poverty are worse off than persons in more affluent households for many of the indicators tracked by the New Mexico Department of Health.
Healthy People Objective: SDOH-3.1, Proportion of persons living in poverty U.S. Target: Not applicable
How Are We Doing?New Mexico's poverty rate peaked at 21.4% in 2013, the highest it had been over the past two decades. The rate has begun to decline, but at 19.0% is still higher than average for New Mexico, and is 42% higher than the U.S. rate of 13.4%.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?In 2017, with 19% of its population (nearly 400,000 individuals) living in households with incomes below the poverty threshold, New Mexico's poverty rate was the third highest in the nation, behind Mississippi and Louisiana.