According to U.S. Census figures, one in six Oklahomans had incomes below federal poverty standards for households in 2014.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute states that amounts to 623,840 Oklahomans have incomes below federal poverty standards.
According to the report:
- Poverty is concentrated among the young. Almost 1 in 4 children in Oklahoma are in poverty (22.4 percent), versus only 16.2 percent of working-age adults and 8.5 percent of seniors.
- Oklahoma has large racial disparities in poverty rates. Although white, non-Hispanic Oklahomans constitute the largest racial/ethnic group in poverty (326,199 of 623,840 total people in poverty, or 52.2 percent), the poverty rate for black Oklahomans (29.9 percent) and Hispanic Oklahomans (27.2 percent) is more than double that of non-Hispanic white Oklahomans (12.9 percent).
- While the largest group of households in poverty were headed by a female with no spouse present (36.0 percent), more than 1 out of 4 were married couple households (28.3 percent).
- The poverty rate for Oklahomans with a bachelor’s degree or higher was just 4.4 percent, while the poverty rate for Oklahomans with less than a high school degree was more than six times higher (28.4 percent).
The federal poverty level was established in 1965 and was set at three times the cost of a basic food plan. It is adjusted each year for inflation and is used to help determine federal payments for Medicaid, health insurance premium tax credits (under Obamacare), free and subsidized school lunch program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and others.
Under President Obama’s administration, the poverty rate has steadily increased in America and in Oklahoma.
The average poverty rate in America is 15.5 percent while it is judged to be 16.6 percent in Oklahoma (2014). In 2008 when Obama was first elected, it was 13.2 percent nationally and 15.9 percent in Oklahoma.