The U.S. Census Bureau uses a set of dollar value thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. For example, for a family of two adults and two children interviewed in July 2014, the federal poverty threshold was about $23,818. The poverty threshold for a family of this size and composition will vary slightly depending on the month.
Both the number and percentage of South Dakota children living below poverty rose after the Great Recession in 2009, while at the same time the number and percentage living at below half the poverty threshold has dipped. The overall percentage of children living in poverty in the years leading up to the recession was about 16 percent, split about evenly between those living below 50 percent of poverty and those living between 50 and 99 percent of poverty.
Nearly every year since 2009, about 18 percent of South Dakota's children have lived in poverty. Of those, between 10 and 11 percent have lived between 50 and 99 percent of poverty and less than 8 percent have lived at below half of poverty. The 2014 rate of 7 percent (14,546 children) at below half of poverty marks a low in both percentage and total number since at least 2006.
At the same time, the 10.9 percent (22,581 children) living between 50 and 99 percent of poverty in 2014 marked the highest number since at least 2006 (though the increase is well within the margin of error) and tied with 2009 for the highest percentage in that time period.
Meanwhile, more children moved into higher income categories in 2014. Here's a look at other income strata for that year:
- 100-199 percent of poverty -- 22.4 percent/46,212 children, tied with 2011 for the lowest percentage in this category.
- 200-299 percent of poverty -- 19.8 percent/40,944 children, the lowest percentage and 3rd lowest number since 2006.
- 300-399 percent of poverty -- 18 percent/37,062 children, the highest percentage and number since 2006.
- Above 400 percent of poverty -- 21.8 percent/44,989 children, the highest percentage and number since 2006.