Eradicating Poverty in the US

In order to meet SDG 1 - No Poverty - by 2030 we must eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere and reduce at least by half the proportion of adults and children of all ages living below the national poverty line.
People Impacted
$ 244B
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 1, No Poverty, aims to eradicate extreme poverty and reduce the proportion of people living below a country’s national poverty line by at least half. Globally, extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 per day. In the U.S., the poverty line for a single-person household is $12,760; however, over 1% of Americans qualify under the extreme poverty threshold.

Extreme poverty in the United States

Extreme poverty is defined by the International Poverty Line of $1.90 per day. As of 2016, 1.2% (3.9 million people) of the U.S. population lives in extreme poverty. (World Bank)

Poverty in the United States

The national poverty line in the U.S. for a single-person household is $12,760 per year. As of 2019, 34 million people fall below this line.

Symptoms and Causes

Poverty in the U.S. can be linked with a range of other issues. Poor people frequently face challenges with affording housing, food, childcare, health care, and education.


Both the availability of jobs and the wages paid at those jobs are important factors influencing a person's ability to reach and stay above the poverty threshold.

Food Insecurity

Experiencing poverty can make affording food and particularly fresh food difficult. This only increases with the number of people in a household. In the U.S. 11% of households are considered food insecure (X4Impact-USAFacts).


As of data from 2020, there are currently 556,000 people experiencing homelessness in the US (X4Impact-USAFacts).

In 2018, 6.5 million Americans experienced a severe housing cost burden, which means they spent more than 50% of their income on housing (National Alliance to End Homelessness)


In 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic compounded existing challenges people living in poverty face and threatened to push many more below the national poverty line.

  • Between February 2020 and May 2020, an estimated 14% of working Americans lost their jobs because of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic (Urban Insititute)

  • The unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% in February to over 19% in April (Urban Insititute)

Additional Data - Interactive Tool

X4Impact, in partnership with USAFacts, created an interactive tool to highlight some selected poverty-related indicators.

You can visit this poverty indicators interactive tool and view poverty rate statistics nationally, or by state. Explore active challenges and ideas seeking funding and leading technology solutions that address poverty-related issues.

the impact
Negative Effects

It's estimated that 250,000 people die of poverty and inequality every year (Poor Peoples Campaign)

Economic Impact

According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center public assistance programs spend $153 billion a year as a direct result of low wages.

Success Metrics
  • The proportion of the population living below the international poverty line and the proportion of the population living below the national poverty line - by sex, age, employment status and geographical location (urban/rural) (SDG Tracker)

  • The proportion of the population covered by social protection floors/systems such as pensions, social security, and health insurance benefits. (SDG Tracker)

  • The proportion of total government spending on essential services (education, health, and social protection) (SDG Tracker)

  • The sum of total grants and non-debt-creating inflows directly allocated to poverty reduction programs as a proportion of GDP (SDG Tracker)

who benefits from solving this problem
Organization Types

Over 35M people in the US benefit from addressing this problem. Technology solutions created to help to address some issues related to poverty and extreme poverty would benefit:

  • Foodbanks and Food pantries

  • Homeless Shelters and Temporary Housing organizations

  • Food assistance programs

  • House Affordability Programs

  • Healthcare affordability programs and organizations

  • Decent work and economic growth related programs and organizations

  • Federal Government

  • Local governments

  • Nonprofit Organizations

financial insights
Current Funding

According to data aggregated by X4Impact from the Security and Exchange Commission filings, since Q1 of 2019, $25M of private funding has been invested in companies working to create tech-based solutions addressing poverty in the U.S.

In addition to that, there are government grants and the $137B in income reported by nonprofits working to alleviate poverty; approximately 90% of that money is deployed to serve individuals and families in poverty.

Potential Solution Funding

Based on data from over 600,000 tax returns filed by nonprofits in the US (data via X4Impact), on an average year, over 15,000 nonprofit organizations deploy $137B in the US to address poverty-related issues.

Ideas Description

Tech and Service Solutions

EMPath has developed a roadmap to help low-income people reach economic independence. Focused on long-term goals, EMPath guides each person in health, family life, career, finances, and education, charting their unique path to economic mobility.

Socio Connect makes it easier than ever to find out which social resource programs like Food Stamps or Medicaid, users may qualify for. Users simply answer a few questions about their household and Socio Connect will connect them with all the information they need.

Wholesome Wave - Tens of millions of Americans struggle to put healthy food on the table. But poverty should never be an obstacle to eating fresh produce. That’s why our flagship program doubles the value of SNAP (or Food Stamps) when spent on fruits and vegetables.

Socialwyze connects people facing housing insecurity and financial distress with public benefit jobs from trusted local nonprofits. We coordinate immediate, entry-level jobs that people can perform on their own time, in their own communities. Our constituents automatically build up digital resumes, allowing them to create credibility with landlords and future full-time employers.