Home » State Economy » Currently Reading:

Census Bureau 2018 Estimates for Income, Poverty, Housing Costs, and Health Coverage

October 9, 2019 State Economy

The U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data released September 26, 2019 provide estimates of population characteristics based on data collected in surveys conducted throughout 2018. The survey data provide year-to-year comparisons of key indicators affecting the lives of Granite Staters. All survey data are estimates for New Hampshire from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Graph of New Hampshire Median Household Income Over Time


Household Income

Median household income, estimated at $74,991, remained about the same for the data collected in 2018 as the 2017 data. While this figure is a nominal high, adjusting for inflation shows New Hampshire’s median household income took many years to return the levels seen in 2007, prior to the last recession, and is quite similar to last year. These data suggest economic growth has kept New Hampshire’s median household income on par with inflation in the last year, but not outpaced it significantly. Relative to other states and the District of Columbia, New Hampshire has about the eighth-highest median household income, although uncertainty in the survey data renders the estimate statistically indistinguishable from Connecticut (#6), California (#7), Washington (#9), and Alaska (#10). About one in three Granite State households had less than $50,000 per year in income, and more than one in five had less than $35,000 per year. Around 23,000Households by Income Group Pie Chart households had less than $10,000 in income. Based on a key metric used by the U.S. Census Bureau, New Hampshire was one of nine states in which income inequality between households increased between the 2017 and 2018 data collections.



New Hampshire’s poverty rate remained about the same, with an estimated 7.6 percent in the 2018 data and 7.7 percent in the 2017 data, which are both near to pre-recession levels. The poverty rate for those under 18 years old also remained virtually the same, at 10.6 percent in 2018 relative to 10.3 percent in 2017, after increasing from 7.9 percent in the 2016 data. The poverty rate for those aged 65 and older was also statistically unchanged, estimated at 5.5 percent for 2018 relative to the 5.8 percent in the 2017 data. The lack of changes in these poverty rates suggests economic growth has not lifted purchasing power throughout the state economy, as poverty rates have not outpaced inflation. The poverty-level income threshold for 2018 is $13,064 for an individual less than 65 years old and $20,212 for a family of three with one child. New Hampshire’s overall poverty New Hampshire Poverty and Near-Poverty Levels Over Timerate was the lowest of any state in the country. About 100,000 Granite Staters lived in poverty, the same amount as estimated by the 2017 data and approximately equivalent of the estimated 2018 populations of Berlin, Exeter, Keene, Lebanon, Milford, and Portsmouth combined. Around 49,000 people lived at less than half of poverty-level income, while an estimated 259,000 people, or approximately one in five residents, lived at less than twice poverty-level incomes in New Hampshire.Housing Costs as a Percentage of Income Pie Chart


Housing Costs

For households that are renters, the Census Bureau measures gross rent, including utilities, as a percentage of household income. Gross rent exceeded 30 percent of household income, a common metric for affordability, for about 48 percent of all renter households.


Health Coverage

The percentage of Granite Staters with health coverage remained about the same at 94.3 percent, higher than levels in 2015 and before the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire. Approximately 77,000 Granite Staters, or about one in twenty, lacked health insurance coverage in the 2018 data.Graph of Health Coverage in NH Over Time



For links to U.S. Census Bureau sources and more information, see NHFPI’s Common Cents post New Census Bureau Data Show NH Incomes, Poverty Rates Holding Steady.


Fact Sheet – Census Bureau 2018 Estimates for Income, Poverty, Housing Costs, and Health Coverage (PDF)

Connect with NHFPI

Common Cents Blog

New Data Provide Insight into Extensive Economic Impacts and Income Losses from the COVID-19 Crisis

3 Jun 2020

tree with coins

The challenges facing Granite Staters due to the COVID-19 crisis are unprecedented, and data continue to suggest the negative effects of this crisis are concentrated on those who are most vulnerable. New survey data indicate nearly half of New Hampshire households have lost employment income since March 13, and one in six have either missed or are likely to miss a monthly housing payment. Caseload data show that 198,905 new initial unemployment claims were generated in New Hampshire during the week ending March 15 through May 23. The preliminary seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate reached 16.3 percent in New Hampshire during April 2020, which is the second-highest among the New England states. Many Granite Staters appear to have lost employer-sponsored health insurance as well. These economic effects have led to increased needs for nutrition assistance and support from other aid programs. While the full effects of the crisis remain uncertain, key indicators provide valuable insights and comparisons between the current COVID-19 crisis, the period immediately before this crisis, and the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

NHFPI Seventh Annual Conference

NHFPI Annual Conference