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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.6 percent of the population of Oklahoma, or almost 637,420 people, was living below the poverty level from 2008 to 2012, compared to 14.9 percent of the nation. Oklahoma is the 16th-poorest among the 50 states, with more than half of the state’s counties below the federal poverty level, which in 2012 was $23,050 for a family of four.

These rates are lower than in 1959, when about 30 percent of Oklahoma’s population was below the poverty level. However, according to some estimates almost 50 percent of the population lives in a condition of financial insecurity, with either too little or no savings to help them cover emergency expenses.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized Native American tribe ...

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