Virginia’s poverty rate fell by 1% in 2017-2018, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The percentage of Virginians living in poverty dropped from 11.1% in 2015-16 to 10.1% in 2017-18, and the state’s poverty rate remained below the national rate of 12% for the most recent two-year period.
Virginia tied with Rhode Island for having the 14th lowest poverty rate among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Poverty status is based on income level and family size. In 2018, a person under 65 with an income less than $13,064 was considered to be living in poverty. For a married couple with a child, the poverty line was 20,212.
While Virginia lawmakers have made progress in cutting poverty in the state, groups like The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a nonprofit think tank, are pushing lawmakers to reform how the state funds public schools, the institute’s research director, Laura Goren, told VCU’s Capital News Service.
“Right now, we are working to make sure that children in poverty have proper education by making sure that the state funding formula is better,” Goren said.
The issue of child poverty is a significant one in Virginia, as 13.7% of children in Virginia lived in poverty in 2018, according to TalkPoverty, a project from the Center for American Progress that is dedicated to covering poverty in America.