New U.S. Census estimates for 2019 reveal increasing poverty in Montgomery County, MD

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Recently released data from the 2019 U.S. Census American Community Survey estimates that the poverty rate in Montgomery County increased from 6.9% in 2018 to 7.4% in 2019. The number of individuals living in households earning less than the federal poverty threshold for their household size increased by 4,680 to 76,985. Montgomery County worsened from the 7th lowest poverty rate in Maryland among all counties and the City of Baltimore to 9th among the 16 jurisdictions.

Lower rate than Montgomery
Higher rate than Montgomery
MD Counties Ranked by 2019 Poverty Rate1
County Poverty Rate Rank # in Poverty
Carroll 4.6% 1 7,584
Howard 4.8% 2 15,526
Ann Arundel 5% 3 28,044
Charles 5.5% 4 8,777
Frederick 5.6% 5 14,223
Calvert 5.9% 6 5,459
Harford 6.7% 7 17,087
St. Mary's 7.3% 8 8,111
Montgomery 7.4% 9 76,985
Prince George's 8.6% 10 75,954
Baltimore Co. 8.9% 11 72,157
Cecil 12.3% 12 12,450
Washington 13% 13 18,556
Allegany 15.6% 14 9,612
Wicomico 17.8% 15 17,593
Baltimore City 20.2% 16 115,472

1 2019: ACS 1 Year Estimates Detailed Tables, B17005, retrieved Sept. 18, 2020 from

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an annual nationwide survey of about 3.5 million addresses conducted throughout the calendar year. The 2019 survey results will be released in several phases in the latter half of 2020. The ACS 1-Year Estimates for 2019 were released on September 17, 2020.

Unlike the Decennial U.S. Census which attempts to count every person in the United States, the American Community Survey estimates are based on a limited sample. Because of the limited sample size, ACS estimates have a degree of uncertainty. The larger the sample, the smaller the uncertainty (called margin of error). For the table of counties above, the margin of error is plus or minus 0.9%. For Montgomery County the estimated poverty rate is 7.4%, and the actual rate based upon the sample size could range from 6.5% to 8.3%.

The 2020 ACS 1-year estimates will not be released until September 2021. Given the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, and the disparate impacts in areas of Montgomery County that were already experiencing higher poverty rates than other areas, we should expect that the data will confirm more families in Montgomery County are falling into poverty.