Changes to the NCUA's Low-Income Designated Area Workbook have led to a drop in the overall LID eligible population, with certain states and counties impacted more than others.

The NCUA recently released an updated version of its Low-Income Designated (LID) Area Workbook, used to determine which geographic areas are classified as low-income. The new workbook implements the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) data to provide a list of the counties, census tracts, census block groups, and zip codes that meet the threshold.

The update moves from 2019 ACS data to 2020 ACS data, and brings with it a variety of changes.

When considering the country as a whole, there has been a decrease in the number of individuals that qualify as low-income. Whereas with the last workbook approximately 188.25 million individuals (making up 57.39% of the total population) qualified as low-income, now 181.95 million individuals (55.17% of the total population) meet the criteria..

An Outsized Impact on Certain States

At the state level, there were only four (out of the 50 states plus District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) that saw an increase in their low-income population.

StateChange in Number of LID individualsChange in Percentage of LID individualsIdaho+104,376+4.63%South Carolina+104,616+1.09%Florida+397,510+0.84%Louisiana+19,455+0.41% 

The state that saw the most significant decrease in both number of low-income individuals and proportion of low-income individuals was Massachusetts, whose LID qualifying population fell by more than 11%.



Other states seeing a significant negative change in the proportion of low-income individuals include: Montana






and Maryland.



The largest decreases in the number of people qualifying as low-income occurred in two of the above states (Massachusetts and Maryland) as well as in three states with high populations: California, Texas, and New York.

StateChange in Number of LID IndividualsMassachusetts-790,053California-714,850Texas-514,486Maryland-426,110New York-415,846


Sea Changes for Some Counties

At the county level, there were likewise some significant changes seen regarding the number of people qualifying as low-income. In Los Angeles County (CA), for instance, 405,451 less people qualify for LID now than did in the previous workbook (representing a decline of 3.81%).


In Prince George’s County (MD), 320,737 less people qualify. Whereas the county previously was categorized as low-income as a whole, now only 64.57% of the population qualifies.



Hudson County (NJ) and Hampden County (MA) are in a similar situation in that the counties were previously considered to be 100% low-income but now have significantly less individuals qualifying at the census tract and block group levels. In Hudson County (NJ), 232,485 less individuals qualify, bringing their total proportion of LID population down to 65.12%.



In Hampden County (MA), 225,187 less individuals qualify, which drops their LID population down to 52.01% of their total population.


Overall, there are 15 counties that previously were considered 100% low-income that are now 0% low-income:

  • Aleutians East Borough (AK)
  • Aleutians West Census Area (AK)
  • Haines Borough (AK)
  • Clark County (ID)
  • Decatur County (KS)
  • Issaquena County (MS)
  • Garfield County (MT)
  • Petroleum County (MT)
  • Powder River County (MT)
  • Prairie County (MT)
  • Garfield County (NE)
  • Keya Paha County (NE)
  • Sheridan County (ND)
  • Harmon County (OK)
  • McMullen County (TX)

Conversely, there are eight counties that were previously 0% low-income qualifying, which are now 100% low-income qualifying:

  • Yakutat Borough (AK)
  • Hinsdale County (CO)
  • Grant County (NE)
  • McPherson County (NE)
  • Glasscock County (TX)
  • King County (TX)
  • Loving County (TX)
  • Sterling County (TX)

There were some counties that saw significant positive changes in their low-income population, although not at the magnitude nor frequency of the counties with negative changes. These are the top-5 counties to see increases in their LID qualifying populations:

CountyStateChange in Number of LID IndividualsChange in Percentage of LID IndividualsPasco CountyFL+228,892+40.72%Lucas CountyOH+175,717+40.94%Escambia CountyFL+100,820+31.14%Gwinnett CountyGA+89,143+9.15%Gaston CountyNC+82,136+36.16%


Although there are a select few areas in which the low-income qualifying population has increased, the most recent update to the NCUA's Low-Income Designated Area Workbook has resulted in an overall decrease in the LID population, despite an increase in the nation's total population.


To understand how your credit union's Low-Income Designation status may be affected by these changes, or if you are interested in learning more about attaining the designation, please contact our team today for a free consultation.

Low-Income Designation

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