EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — September 14, 2016

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Poverty Rates by Age: 1959 to 2015


Since 1959, the poverty rates in the United States has fallen dramatically. However, over the past 30 years they have remained relatively stagnant, albeit hills and valleys along the way. The good news is that the poverty rates for our elderly dropped significantly from approximately 35 percent in 1959 to only 8.8 percent in 2015. The rate for those under 18 years of age dropped from 27 percent to 19.7 percent, and those between the ages of 18 and 64 dropped from 17 percent to 12.4 percent.

As the economy has improved over the last few years, the graphic below illustrates that the rates for all three age groups have dropped 1-2 points, a non-trivial change. The greatest remaining concern is the high rate of poverty for our youth: one-in-five youth under the age of 18 reside in poverty.