Skip Header

We are hiring thousands of people for the 2020 Census. Click to learn more and apply.

Report Number P60-205
By Kathleen Short, Thesia Garner, David Johnson, and Patricia Doyle
Component ID: #ti304941041

Executive Summary

This report presents experimental measures of poverty in the United States. These measures are illustrative variations of the recommendations of the Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance: Concepts, Information Needs, and Measurement Methods of the National Research Council.1 The experimental measures presented here:

  • Incorporate, in a way that the official measure does not, the effects of key government policies aimed at the most needy families in the United States.
  • Use an after-tax income measure.
  • Add the value of in-kind benefits, such as food stamps, to income.
  • Take account of variations in expenses that are necessary to hold a job or to obtain medical care.

Key Findings

  • Considering all in-kind transfers together reduces the incidence of poverty substantially, even though the reductions from any single program are generally quite small.
  • The increase in poverty rates when one accounts for necessary expenses can be substantial but depends on the method used to value those expenses.
  • Because of the earned income credit, deducting taxes from income on balance reduces the percentage of people who are viewed as being poor.

1 Citro, Constance F. and Robert T. Michael (eds.), Measuring Poverty: A New Approach, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1995.

  Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes    Thumbs Down Image No
Comments or suggestions?
No, thanks
255 characters remaining
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?
Back to Header