Poverty rates vary widely from region to region, making the often-cited official U.S. Poverty Rate unreliable, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland study.

Economist Elizabeth Powers and senior research assistant Max Depuy wrote in the current issue Economic Commentary that regional poverty rates range from 8.3% in New England to 16% in the Tennessee-Kentucky-Alabama- Mississippi area.

The official poverty rate for the nation as a whole, however, stands at 11.68%.

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