The overall poverty rate in the U.S. is at 16 percent, according to new data from the Census Bureau.
The data was collected using a new poverty measure that takes living expenses, medical costs, government aid and regional differences into consideration.
Revealing an increase from the official poverty measure, the new data also showed higher poverty rates for Asians, Hispanics and the elderly, according to a Reuters report.
The rate of poverty among elderly rose from 9 percent to 15.9 percent because of Medicare and out-of-pocket medical expenses, according to an NPR report.
Dave Cooper of the Economic Policy Institute said the data shows that the social safety net is not doing as much as hoped.
"The programs we have right now are, if anything, inadequate," Cooper said in the Reuters report.
Government officials acknowledge flaws in the measurement and say it is a work in progress, according to the NPR report.