Program eligibility is determined by income

The income bands shown reflect percentages of the federally established poverty line, which varies based on household size. These percentages are used to set eligibility thresholds for nutrition programs.

How is food insecurity related to poverty?

Although related, food insecurity and poverty are not the same. According to the USDA, 33% of food-insecure households live above 185% of the poverty line. Note below, however, that 185% of the poverty level is still less than $50,000 for a family of four. For families with medical expenses or who are located in areas with a high cost-of-living, it’s easy to see how quickly resources can get drained.

What does it mean to live in poverty?

Poverty rates are provided as supplemental information to the food-insecurity rates. Poverty rates are determined by the number of members in a household and their annual income.

These rates do not vary from state to state (except in AK and HI), despite significant differences in cost-of-living.

SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 86, No. 19, February 1, 2021, pp. 7732-7734
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services