Between 2016 and 2017, the poverty rate in Missouri decreased from 14.0 percent to 13.4 percent and the child poverty rate also dropped from 19.2 percent to 18.6 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 1-year estimates. The Bureau recently released its 2013–2017 5-year estimate, which provides more accurate estimates of smaller geographic areas like counties.
Back in 1980, 13 percent of people were living below the federal poverty line, and 13 percent had standards of living that qualified them as poor. Fast forward to today, and the poverty rate has stayed about the same at 13.4 percent—but fewer than 3 percent of Americans have a poor standard of living. How can that be?