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Census data: 1 in 8 people in Washington are living below the poverty line

When it comes to economic policy, politicians recently have been focused on appealing to issues concerning the ever-growing middle class. But many Americans tend to forget there is a significant fraction of the population that still has trouble making ends meet every day. According to the most recent income report from the United States Census Bureau, 48 million Americans still live below the poverty line. Some states now hope to help combat this problem by pushing to increase minimum wage, but even that change won't solve all the persisting problems.

In order to see how poverty in Washington has changed over time, genealogy data site MooseRoots crunched the numbers to find the most impoverished counties from 1980 to 2010. Since 1980, the poverty threshold has been updated annually to reflect changing costs of living according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The current poverty threshold (as of 2010) for a family of four is $24,250. If this number seems absurdly low, it’s because it is: the federal poverty measure was first introduced in the 60s, and hasn’t been updated to reflect the consumption patterns of today’s average family. It’s also important to note that those excluded from poverty statistics include people in military group quarters, students in college dorms, and children under 15 years. For more on the methodology, click here.

Population Below the Poverty Line in Washington (1980 - 2010)

Population Below the Poverty Line in Washington (1980 - 2010) | MooseRoots

Here are the five states that are struggling the most to eradicate poverty:

5. Oregon

The state saw a 4.9 percent increase in population below the poverty line.

Oregon Overview | MooseRoots

4. Ohio

The state saw a 5.1 percent increase in population below the poverty line.

Ohio Overview | MooseRoots

3. Indiana

The state saw a 5.1 percent increase in population below the poverty line.

Indiana Overview | MooseRoots

2. Nevada

The state saw a 5.5 percent increase in population below the poverty line.

Nevada Overview | MooseRoots

1. Michigan

The state saw a 5.9 percent increase in population below the poverty line.

Michigan Overview | MooseRoots

Here are the top five states that have made the most progress:

5. Virginia

The state saw a 0.8 percent decrease in population below the poverty line.

Virginia Overview | MooseRoots

4. Alabama

The state saw a 0.8 percent decrease in population below the poverty line.

Alabama Overview | MooseRoots

3. Alaska

The state saw a 1.2 percent decrease in population below the poverty line.

Alaska Overview | MooseRoots

2. Mississippi

The state saw a 1.6 percent decrease in population below the poverty line.

Mississippi Overview | MooseRoots

1. South Dakota

The state saw a 3.2 percent decrease in population below the poverty line.

South Dakota Overview | MooseRoots

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