Helpful Resources on Poverty in the U.S.

The best strategies to close the economic gap rely on sound information to be valid and credible. But with programs to run and clients to serve, who has time to scour the web in search of data? Emerge Solutions is dedicated to helping you help people move out of poverty. For that reason, we now put information that you may find helpful right at your fingertips. Each quarter, we highlight a few information sources in the space below. To download our full catalog, click here. If you have information resources you’ve found valuable to add to our list, contact us.


Featured Resources


Living Wage Calculator –

This site is maintained by Amy K. Glasmeier, Ph.D., of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Take it from Emerge Solutions – you’ll find many uses for it.

The site presents data for each state as a whole, as well as each county and metropolitan area, including:

  • The living wage and poverty wage for various family sizes, and the minimum wage for comparison
  • Typical expenses by family size such as food, child care, housing and taxes, plus the required annual income to meet those expenses both before and after taxes
  • Typical annual salaries by occupational area


You can use these data for community education, advocacy and education of poverty clients about how much it costs to support themselves and their families – and you’ll think of many other uses.

You’ll also find timely and insightful articles related to the living wage, such as “Most Americans Are No Longer Middle Class” and “City of Dallas Contracts More Expensive, but Better Workers Are Sticking Around Thanks to Living Wage.”

Check out your state and county and let us know: How accurate do you think this tool is for your locale?


Rural Poverty & Well-Being, USDA –

If you are working with rural poverty, you may want to bookmark this page. The site uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, to provide information on:

  • Poverty Demographics – poverty by race and ethnicity, family composition, and age, with comparisons between metro and nonmetro areas
  • Geography of Poverty – by region and metro/nonmetro status; also maps showing nonmetro county poverty rates and counties that are persistently in poverty
  • Child Poverty – by age and poverty status, family type, race and ethnicity, with comparisons between metro and nonmetro areas; also maps showing nonmetro county-level child poverty and counties with persistent child poverty
  • Income – Comparisons of real median household income, metro vs. nonmetro, from 2007-16


Overviews plus narratives in each section summarize the data and provide further context.