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Lincoln’s poverty rate dropped to 12% in 2019 and roughly tracks the overall poverty trends of the nation. Currently, 40% of public school students receive free lunch. The number of households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as food stamps) has slightly decreased since the Great Recession and was 8% in 2019. Lincoln has three Census Tracts in extreme poverty (more than 40% of residents in poverty). Other trends have been going in a more positive direction: the number and rate of adults who are experiencing homelessness in Lincoln is at its lowest level since 2007, and rates of food insecure households and individuals without health insurance have continued to gradually decrease.


1.  Critics have said that the Federal Poverty Threshold, developed in the early 1960s, should be improved. The measure uses food costs and a multiplier of three to calculate needed income. Needed income is compared to gross income and does not include in-kind benefits, nor does it recognize increased labor participation of women (and related childcare costs), variability in health care costs across populations, or variability of expenses across geographies. These and other factors may underestimate poverty for persons in working families and overestimate poverty for persons in families receiving public assistance.
2.  Fiester, L. (2013). Early warning confirmed: A research update on third-grade reading. Baltimore, MD: Annie E Casey Foundation.
3.  Quane, J. M., & Wilson, W. J. (2012). Critical commentary: Making the connection between the socialisation and the social isolation of the inner-city poor. Urban Studies, 49(14), 2977-2987. doi: 10.1177/0042098012453857
4.  Wilson, W. J. (2010). Why both social structure and culture matter in a holistic analysis of inner-city poverty. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 629,200-219. doi: 10.1177/0002716209357403
5.  Due to changes in the Census’ methodology for sampling populations, caution must be exercised when comparing 2000 or 2010 decennial data with the newer American Community Survey data. Census Tract geographies are updated every 10 years. As of the 2020 Decennial Census Lincoln has 81 Census Tract neighborhoods. Neighborhoods for which extreme poverty was calculated exclude Census Tract 6, situated directly over the main campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Census Tract 35, situated over the Lincoln Regional Center; Census Tract 36.01, covering the State Penitentiary; and 9832 over the Lincoln Airport. 
6.  Federal Poverty Guidelines are based on size of household and income. In fiscal year 2019, a four-person household with a gross income less than $32,640 (the equivalent of 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines) would be eligible for SNAP benefits. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2019). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) FY 2019 Income eligibility standards. 
7.  In general, students are eligible for free lunch if their household income is less than 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and eligible for reduced lunch if their household income is less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. In the 2020-21 school year, students in a family of four with a household income less than $34,060 would be eligible for free lunch, and those with a household income less than $48,470 would be eligible for reduced lunch. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2020). Child nutrition programs: Income eligibility guidelines. Federal Register/Vol. 85, No. 55/Friday, March 20, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-03-20/pdf/2020-05982.pdf
8.  United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. (Last Updated April 22, 2022). Definitions of Food Security. Retrieved May 1, 2022 from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us/definitions-of-food-security.aspx
9.  Healthy People 2020. (n.d.) Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved May 1, 2022 from: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health
10.  Feeding America (n.d.) Child Hunger in America. Retrieved May 1, 2022 from: http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/child-hunger/
11.  U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey. American Community Survey 2019 1-year estimates. Table DP04.
12.  Schwartz, M., & Wilson, E., (n.d.) Who can afford to live in a home?: A look at data from the 2006 American Community Survey. Washington, DC: United States Census Bureau.
13.  Data are limited to the household population and exclude the population living in institutions, college dormitories, and other group quarters.
14.  Costs for households without a mortgage may include home equity loans, real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, association fees, and utilities.
15.  The HUD definition of homelessness for the purpose of a point in time homeless count includes only people who are living unsheltered on the streets, in a vehicle or another place not fit for human habitation, or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. Many people and families considered homeless, or at risk of homelessness, including those in prison/jail, living in hotels/motels, or “couch surfing” are NOT included in the count.
16.  The decrease in homelessness is believed to be attributable to increased support of homeless persons through the Rapid Rehousing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and domestic violence housing programs.