The percentage of Travis County residents who live below the federal poverty threshold declined from 13% in 2017 to 11% in 2021. This measure has not changed significantly in several years. All three local jurisdictions—the City of Austin, Travis County and the five-county Austin MSA have poverty rates that continue declining below pre-Great Recession levels.
Poverty thresholds are set annually by the U.S. Census Bureau and vary by family type and size. In 2021, the poverty thresholds set by the U.S. Census Bureau, were $27,479 for a family of four (2 adults/2 children) and $21,831 for a family of three (1 adult/2 children).
*The US Census Bureau did not release 2020 ACS 1-Year data. To estimate the 2020 poverty rate, the median between the 2019 and 2021 rates was used.
There are large disparities in poverty by race/ethnicity. The poverty rate is 18% for Black residents of Travis County, 16% for Hispanic residents, and 13% for Asian residents, compared to 7% for White residents.
This data is drawn from an American Community survey 5-year estimate to increase reliability of data.
An estimated 15% of children and youth under the age of 18 in Travis County were living below the poverty level in 2021. Children are more likely to be living in poverty than working-age adults or seniors.
The disparity in poverty rates by race and ethnicity is even greater for the child population than it is for the total population. Between 2016 and 2020, 26% of Black or African American children and 22% of Hispanic children lived below the federal poverty level, compared to 6% of Asian children and 5% of White children.
Over 38,000 Travis County children were living in poverty each year from 2016 to 2020, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately 88% of all children who live in poverty in Travis County are Black, Hispanic, or some other race or ethnicity.
This graph depicts the number of children living in households with incomes above the poverty line and the number of children living in households with incomes below the poverty line for each racial or ethnic category.
An estimated 26,755 Hispanic children and 5,952 Black children in Travis County live in poverty. The number of children living in households with incomes below the poverty line is much lower for White children (4,762) and Asian children (961).
This map shows where populations with incomes below the federal poverty thresholds are concentrated across the five-county region. In Travis County, most of the population with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level were living along and east of IH 35.
Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased, especially when broken down into small geographic areas such as census tracts. The census tracts marked with stripes indicate areas where data is “unreliable,” which means the Confidence Value does not meet at least Medium Reliability Standard.
This map shows where populations with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty thresholds are concentrated across the five-county region. In Travis County, most of the population with incomes below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level were living along and east of IH 35.
Data Considerations: Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased, especially when broken down into small geographic areas such as census tracts. The census tracts marked with stripes indicate areas where data is “unreliable,” which means the Confidence Value does not meet at least Medium Reliability Standard.
Bank on Central Texas is a community initiative led by United Way for Greater Austin to help more people find and sign up for bank accounts, by bringing together financial institutions, service providers, local government agencies and community organizations. Other Financial Stability programs offered by United Way for Greater Austin include financial literacy classes and savings programs .
Financial Fitness Greater Austin (FFGA) is an education and awareness initiative in partnership with the Alliance for Economic Inclusion, Senator Kirk Watson and more than 60 entities in the Greater Austin area. The goal of FFGA is to provide financial awareness and information to the Greater Austin community and emphasize the importance of financial literacy and the need for consumers to be proactive about managing their finances.
In order to reduce poverty, we must understand more about it and who is impacted by it. Travis County Health & Human Services Research and Planning will release a Poverty Analysis in the Spring of 2017 that explores and analyses data from the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for poverty and low-income populations in Travis and surrounding counties, giving us a clearer picture of who in our community is experiencing poverty.
United Way for Greater Austin facilitates a Two Gen Advisory Council of local partners that promotes policies to improve workforce skills of parents while also offering high quality child care to their children. The two generation approach helps to build long-term economic stability.
Access to good paying jobs is one way to turn the curve on this indicator. The dashboard page on unemployment identifies local efforts to help people gain skills, training and access to better paying jobs.