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Poverty Rate

Lincoln’s number of persons in poverty has decreased 11% in the past decade

The federal poverty level is determined annually based on size of the family, the number of children, and a measure of income needed to purchase food and other essential goods and services.1 In 2018, for example, the poverty threshold was $25,465 for a family of four that included two related children less than 19 years of age.

  • In Lincoln in 2018, 14% (37,004 persons) lived in households falling below the poverty threshold.
  • Since 2009, there has been an 11% decrease in the number of persons below the poverty threshold. This represents a decrease of 4,624 persons in poverty.
  • Since the year 2009, the poverty rate in Lincoln peaked in 2010 with 17% of households falling below the poverty threshold.



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 child care 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.