Extreme Poverty in Ohio: How Many People in Ohio Live on Less than $2.00 Per Day?

The World Bank and other international organizations frequently cite incomes of less than $2.00 per person per day as a benchmark for poverty levels in developing countries. Policy experts in this country have also analyzed data on the extremely poor in the United States using this same standard. Next week, the authors of $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, will visit Ohio to talk about the plight of Americans living in extreme poverty.

As groups prepare for those events, they asked Community Solutions, “how many people in Ohio live at this level of extreme poverty?”  Doing some quick calculations, we estimate that between 184,000 and 198,000 Ohioans live on less than $2.00 per day.  Here, we describe our methodology.

Our estimate is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) five-year sample data from 2010 to 2014. We used the Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) from those years, as maintained by the Minnesota Population Center (IPUMS-USA, University of Minnesota, www.ipums.org). The ACS counts total household income for the past 12 months from the following sources: wages/salary, self-employment, interest, dividends, rent, royalties, income from estates or trusts; Social Security retirement, survivor, and disability income; Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash public assistance (TANF), other retirement, survivor, or disability income; unemployment, worker’s compensation, VA payments, alimony and child support, and other periodic income other than earnings. It should be noted that the value of SNAP (food stamp) benefits is not counted as income in the ACS.