Poverty in King County has stayed high despite economic "recovery."
Wealth is the flip side of poverty, which the United Nations defines as “a denial of choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity.” A living wage opens the door to choice and opportunity. The distribution of wealth can enhance or undermine a society’s collective dignity.
Since 1964, the Federal Poverty Threshold has defined population poverty rates, and serves as a benchmark for the guidelines that determine eligibility for social service programs. Initially based on the cost of food, it has been adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index. This important standard ignores the costs of housing, transportation, utilities, and child care, which account for a greater proportion of expenditures than in the mid-1960s.
According to the 2013 Federal Poverty Threshold ($23,634 gross income for a family of 4 with 2 children),
- Over 16% of King County children (about 70,000) lived in poverty, up from 10% in 1989 and 1999, and 13% in 2007. The percentage hasn't changed since 2010, but the number of children has increased by about 5,000.
- More than 12% of King County residents of all ages (about 254,000) lived in poverty, up from 8% in 1989 and 1999, and 10% in 2007. Again, the percentage is unchanged since 2010, but the number living in poverty is up by about 20,000.