National Poverty In America Awareness Month

On January 12, 2023
In Blog

America is one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, but poverty has long plagued many of its citizens. From food deserts and a lack of clean water, to inequities in education and access to healthcare, the current outlook seems troubling, despite notable gains made through government assistance in recent years. According to the most current data published by the United States Census Bureau, the official poverty rate in 2021 was 11.6 percent. That equates to 37.9 million people living in poverty.

Chester County is home to some of the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods in the state, and recent hospital closures have only served to widen the gap. The Alliance for Health Equity is committed to its vision of a thriving, inclusive community for all and mission to advance a more equitable, resilient, and healthy Greater Coatesville. These values are at the core of everything we do, including initiatives like the Hospital Closure Group, Community Voice, and the Nonprofit Justice and Equity Institute, which was recently established to mitigate the deeply rooted inequities experienced by our most marginalized community members.

We invite you to learn more about our work at The Alliance by viewing our 2022 Community Impact Report here. We hope that you’ll be inspired to give and get involved, so that we can build on our success to have an even greater impact in the future. And if you’re already a supporter, we hope you’ll be proud of all we have accomplished together.

A Closer Look At Poverty in America

The Census Bureau states that the US government uses two measures to assess poverty. “The official poverty measure, in use since the 1960s, defines poverty by comparing pretax money income to a poverty threshold that is adjusted by family composition. The SPM, first released in 2011 and produced with support from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), extends the official poverty measure by taking account of many government programs that are designed to assist low-income families but are not included in the official poverty measure. The SPM also includes federal and state taxes and work and medical expenses. In addition, the SPM accounts for geographic variation in poverty thresholds, while the official poverty measure does not.”

We mentioned earlier that poverty currently affects 37.9 million people in our country. In recognition of National Poverty In America Awareness Month this January, let us consider a few more facts and statistics.

  • People are considered impoverished if their individual income is below $12,880 or their household income is below $26,500 for a family of four. (gov)
  • Social Security continued to be the most important anti-poverty program in 2021, moving 26.3 million people out of SPM pov­erty. (gov)
  • Refundable tax credits and stimulus payments moved 9.6 million and 8.9 mil­lion people out of SPM poverty in 2021. (gov)
  • The percentage of African Americans who fell below the poverty line in 2021 was 19.5%, or 8.6 million people. (org)
  • The percentage of Hispanics who fell below the poverty line in 2021 was 17.1%, or 10.7 million people. (org)
  • Women have higher rates of poverty than men across almost all races and ethnicities. (
  • 9% or 4 million people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 fell below the poverty line in 2021. (
  • The percentage of households that were food insecure on average in 2021 was 10.2%.(org)
  • 326,000 people experienced sheltered homelessness in the United States on at least a single night in 2021. (gov)
  • In 2022, the unemployment rate in the US was 3.5%. (gov)
  • In 2022, the nation’s uninsured rate was 8.0 percent for US residents of all ages. (gov)


The Alliance for Health Equity (formerly Brandywine Health Foundation) is a philanthropic organization striving to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area. We pursue our mission by providing grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students that address health and economic disparities and social justice. We also build partnership programs and give voice to those often left out of community solution building to improve the overall health of their communities. 100% of contributions go directly to those in need.