The influence of farm payments on the poorest farm households can be seen in the farm household poverty rate. In 2010, the poverty rate among all farm households, at 14.6 percent, was almost 3 percentage points higher than the poverty rate among the general population. Among subsidized farm households, before receiving a farm subsidy the poverty rate was 16.9—45 percent higher (5.7 percentage points) than the national poverty rate that year. Subsidies have a big impact on poverty among recipient households; they reduce the poverty rate by 4.2 percentage points to 12.7. But poverty among subsidy recipients still exceeds the national poverty rate by 1 percentage point.

Today, the income distribution of farm households looks similar to the non-farm household income distribution. Farm households have higher median income (about 30 percent higher in 2010), but they also experience a higher poverty rate.