North Carolina Poverty Rate by County

Data Item State
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Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013 - (Percent)
County Value
Alamance 18.3
Alexander 17.2
Alleghany 19.8
Anson 24.2
Ashe 21.1
Avery 18.0
Beaufort 21.0
Bertie 23.4
Bladen 25.8
Brunswick 16.6
Buncombe 17.1
Burke 20.0
Cabarrus 13.2
Caldwell 19.5
Camden 6.0
Carteret 14.4
Caswell 22.6
Catawba 15.2
Chatham 12.4
Cherokee 17.9
Chowan 29.0
Clay 24.3
Cleveland 19.3
Columbus 25.0
Craven 16.6
Cumberland 17.0
Currituck 9.8
Dare 8.8
Davidson 16.3
Davie 13.4
Duplin 26.3
Durham 18.5
Edgecombe 25.2
Forsyth 18.6
Franklin 16.1
Gaston 17.9
Gates 19.6
Graham 21.1
Granville 15.4
Greene 23.3
Guilford 18.1
Halifax 27.4
Harnett 17.2
Haywood 16.6
Henderson 14.1
Hertford 26.0
Hoke 22.9
Hyde 25.6
Iredell 13.8
Jackson 21.8
Johnston 17.2
Jones 16.7
Lee 18.9
Lenoir 23.7
Lincoln 15.6
Macon 21.3
Madison 17.3
Martin 23.2
McDowell 21.9
Mecklenburg 15.4
Mitchell 18.3
Montgomery 25.6
Moore 15.6
Nash 17.0
New Hanover 16.9
Northampton 26.3
Onslow 15.2
Orange 17.8
Pamlico 13.8
Pasquotank 18.4
Pender 19.3
Perquimans 20.2
Person 18.0
Pitt 24.3
Polk 16.7
Randolph 17.8
Richmond 25.9
Robeson 31.7
Rockingham 17.9
Rowan 18.8
Rutherford 21.5
Sampson 22.8
Scotland 32.3
Stanly 16.1
Stokes 15.8
Surry 19.9
Swain 27.2
Transylvania 14.3
Tyrrell 20.8
Union 9.4
Vance 28.0
Wake 11.0
Warren 26.2
Washington 23.7
Watauga 31.3
Wayne 22.1
Wilkes 22.7
Wilson 23.2
Yadkin 18.5
Yancey 20.1

Value for North Carolina (Percent): 17.5%

Data item: Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013

Source: U. S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates. Updated every year.


Poverty statistics in ACS products adhere to the standards specified by the Office of Management and Budget in Statistical Policy Directive 14. The Census Bureau uses a set of dollar value thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. Further, poverty thresholds for people living alone or with nonrelatives (unrelated individuals) vary by age (under 65 years or 65 years and older). The poverty thresholds for two-person families also vary by the age of the householder. If a family's total income is less than the dollar value of the appropriate threshold, then that family and every individual in it are considered to be in poverty. Similarly, if an unrelated individual's total income is less than the appropriate threshold, then that individual is considered to be in poverty.

How the Census Bureau Determines Poverty Status

Poverty status is determined by comparing annual income to a set of dollar values called poverty thresholds that vary by family size, number of children and age of householder. If a family's before tax money income is less than the dollar value of their threshold, then that family and every individual in it are considered to be in poverty. For people not living in families, poverty status is determined by comparing the individual's income to his or her poverty threshold.

The poverty thresholds are updated annually to allow for changes in the cost of living using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). They do not vary geographically. The ACS is a continuous survey and people respond throughout the year. Since income is reported for the previous 12 months, the appropriate poverty threshold for each family is determined by multiplying the base-year poverty threshold (1982) by the average of monthly CPI values for the 12 months preceding the survey month.

Scope and Methodology:

These data are collected in the American Community Survey (ACS). The data for each geographic area are presented together with margins of error at The data are period estimates, that is, they represent the characteristics of the population over a specific 60-month data collection period.

Since answers to income questions are frequently based on memory and not on records, many people tended to forget minor or sporadic sources of income and, therefore, underreport their income. Underreporting tends to be more pronounced for income sources that are not derived from earnings, such as public assistance, interest, dividends, and net rental income.

Margins of Error (MOE). ACS estimates are based on a sample and are subject to sampling variability. The degree of uncertainty for an estimate arising from sampling variability is represented through the use of a MOE. The MOE used with ACS estimates can be interpreted as providing a 90 percent probability that the interval defined by the estimate plus the MOE and the estimate minus the MOE (the upper and lower confidence bounds) contains the full population value of the estimate.

For example, suppose the 5-year ACS reported the percentage of people 25 years and older in Birmingham, Alabama who had a bachelor's degree was 21.3 percent and that the MOE associated with this estimate is plus or minus (+/-) 0.9 percent. By adding and subtracting the MOE from the estimate, we can calculate the 90-percent confidence interval for this estimate at 21.3%, +/-0.9%:

21.3% - 0.9% = 20.4% = Lower-bound estimate
21.3% + 0.9% = 22.2% = Upper-bound estimate

Therefore, we can be 90 percent confident that the percent of the population in Birmingham, Alabama of age 25 years and older having a bachelor's degree in 2007-2011 falls somewhere between 20.4 percent and 22.2 percent.

For this Fact and other 5-year Economic Characteristic Facts (listed below), their estimates and margins of error or percents and percent margins of errors can be found on Data Profile - Economic Characteristics. This profile is displayed by geography. Click on the link for "Browse for Data sets (geography picked)" near the top of the Quick facts profile page, click on the link for People QuickLinks/American Community Survey - "Economic Characteristics" for the data profile.

Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16 and over;
Per capita money income in the past 12 months,
Median household income,
Persons below poverty level, percent

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