Poverty Measurement in the US

The growing problem that has serious implications for the poor, By Roberto A. Ferdman, November 2, 2015, Washington Post: “For decades, the U.S. government has used the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) to calculate several of the most important measures of national well-being. The CPS reaches roughly 100,000 households each year and captures important information about poverty and other things. And that’s a problem, because, over time, the survey has become a misrepresentation of what is actually happening.  That, at least, is the conclusion of an important new paper looking at how well we measure poverty—and how well we take into account the impact of the safety net…”

Global Poverty Measurement

The tricky work of measuring falling global poverty, October 12, 2015, The Economist: “‘This is the best news story in the world,’ said Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, of the announcement this month that the proportion of the world living in poverty is now in single digits, at 9.6%. The claim has rekindled a long smouldering debate over the reliability of such statistics.  Counting the poor is no easy task. The Bank bases its poverty figures on household surveys, which are undertaken by developing countries every few years…”

Human Needs Index – Indiana

New poverty index shows continuing need in Indiana, By Maureen Groppe, October 7, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana is taking longer to recover from the Great Recession than the nation as a whole, according to a new poverty measure released Wednesday by Indiana University and the Salvation Army. The Human Needs Index tracks services provided by the Salvation Army for food, shelter, clothing, health and well-being. Researchers at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis said the index provides a more timely and detailed measure of need than government poverty statistics…”

Deep Poverty – Philadelphia, PA

Among the 10 largest cities, Philly has highest deep-poverty rate, By Alfred Lubrano, September 30, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty among America’s 10 biggest cities, an examination of federal data by The Inquirer shows. The city is already the poorest in that group. Deep poverty is measured as income of 50 percent or less of the poverty rate. A family of four living in deep poverty takes in $12,000 or less annually, half the poverty rate of $24,000 for a family that size…”

Global Poverty Line

Planet’s poor set to swell as World Bank revises poverty line, By Shawn Donnan, September 23, 2015, CNBC: “The World Bank is to make the most dramatic change to its global poverty line in 25 years, raising its measure by a half to about $1.90 per day in a move likely to swell the statistical ranks of the world’s poor by tens of millions…”

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

  • U.S. poverty rate and incomes remained stagnant in 2014, report says, By Don Lee, September 16, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “Despite steady job growth and a sizeable drop in the unemployment rate, the nation’s poverty rate showed no improvement last year, and the typical American household, once again, saw no real gain in income…”
  • Health care gains, but income remains stagnant, the White House reports, By Robert Pear, September 16, 2015, New York Times: “Nearly nine million people gained health insurance last year, lowering the ranks of the uninsured to 10.4 percent of the population. But there was no statistically significant change in income for the typical American household in 2014, the Obama administration said on Wednesday…”
  • Household income, poverty numbers stay about the same, By Jesse J. Holland (AP), September 16, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “The wallets of America’s middle class and poorest aren’t seeing any extra money, the U.S. Census reported Wednesday, a financial stagnation experts say may be fueling political dissent this campaign season. The Census Bureau, in its annual look at poverty and income in the United States, said both the country’s median income and poverty rate were statistically unchanged in 2014 from the previous year…”
  • American wages remain at 1997 levels as recovery fails to lift middle class, By Jana Kasperkevic, September 16, 2015, The Guardian: “On average Americans are still earning the same wages they were in 1997 and 46.7 million are still living in poverty, seven years after the 2008 crash, according to the US census bureau…”

Child Poverty in the US

  • The shocking reach of U.S. child poverty, By Aimee Picchi, September 11, 2015, CBS News: “America’s childhood poverty numbers aren’t pretty, but they are even uglier than you might think. Take a snapshot of the U.S. today, and you’ll find that 22 percent of all children live in families that are below the federal poverty level. But what happens when you look at how American children fare throughout their pre-adult lives? It’s nearly twice as bad…”
  • Two in every five U.S. children spend at least a year in poverty, By Nick Timiraos, September 9, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “Childhood poverty is far more prevalent than annual figures suggest, a new paper says, with nearly two in every five U.S. children spending at least one year in poverty before they turn 18 years old. The findings from Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, show particularly stark divides along racial lines. Black children fare much worse. Some 75% are poor at some point during their childhood, compared to 30% of white children…”

Elder Poverty – California

UCLA study finds million-plus elderly Californians in poverty, By Dan Walters, August 31, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “More than 300,000 elderly Californians are officially poor, as measured by the federal government, but their numbers triple to more than 1 million when the ‘hidden poor’ are counted, according to a new study from UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research…”

Child Poverty by Race

  • For first time, black kids in poverty outnumber white, By Lauren Pankin, July 16, 2015, Detroit Free Press: “The number of black children living in poverty in the U.S. has surpassed the number of poor white children for the first time since U.S. Census has tracked such numbers in 1974, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Overall, 20% of children in the U.S., or 14.7 million, lived in poverty in 2013 — down from 22%. Of that, black children make up 4.2 million while white children account for 4.1 million…”
  • Black children in U.S. are much more likely to live in poverty, study finds, By Sabrina Tavernise, July 14, 2015, New York Times: “Black children were almost four times as likely as white children to be living in poverty in 2013, a new report has found, the latest evidence that the economic recovery is leaving behind some of the United States’ most vulnerable citizens. The share of American children living in poverty fell to about 20 percent in 2013 from 22 percent in 2010, according to the report by the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau.

Measuring Poverty in Schools

To measure poverty, states look beyond free lunch, By Amy Scott, June 23, 2015, Marketplace: “For years, the federal school meals program has been one of the most powerful forces in education. Not just because it feeds kids, but because the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals has been the main way schools measure poverty. That number, in turn, can impact everything from school funding levels to accountability programs.  But that’s changing. Massachusetts has introduced a new way of measuring poverty in its schools…”

Suburban Poverty – Twin Cities, MN

Poverty nearly doubles in Twin Cities suburbs, By Shannon Prather, June 21, 2015, Star Tribune: “Poor people living in the suburbs of the Twin Cities now significantly outnumber the needy in Minneapolis and St. Paul, an accelerating trend that is presenting many local governments with stark new challenges. Pockets of concentrated poverty have emerged across the metro suburbs, in places such as St. Louis Park, Coon Rapids and Shakopee. Meanwhile, in other suburban communities such as Richfield and Brooklyn Park, poverty that sprang up over the last decade has become a persistent issue. These are the findings of a seminal new Metropolitan Council report that says about 385,000 people live in poverty in the suburbs, compared to about 259,000 in the urban core…”

Federal Programs and Poverty Alleviation

Safety net does more to ease poverty than previously thought, new study finds, By Greg Sargent, May 6, 2015, Washington Post: “The Baltimore riots have re-ignited the ideological wars over the efficacy of government spending to alleviate poverty, with Republicans who want to slash the budget seizing on images of urban chaos to argue that federal anti-poverty policy has been an abject failure at accomplishing its own goal. Paul Ryan suggests dumping more cash into the bottomless pit otherwise known as federal spending on the poor will only produce the ‘same failed result.’  But a new study being released today finds that the federal safety net may actually be doing more to alleviate poverty than previously thought. Thestudy, from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, uses a new statistical technique to measure the impact of federal programs on the poverty rate, correcting for what it says are defects in previous accounting methods…”

Poverty in the UK

Poverty – and child poverty in particular – is rising, By Patrick Butler, April 29, 2015, The Guardian: “Poverty in the UK is increasing after two years of heavy welfare cuts have helped to push hundreds of thousands of people below the breadline, according to an independent study of the coalition government’s record.  Although middle-earners saw incomes rise marginally after 2013, policies including the bedroom tax and below-inflation benefits rises have reduced incomes for the poorest, pitching an estimated 760,000 into poverty since the last official figures were produced, according to the New Policy Institute (NPI) thinktank…”

Poverty Rate – Nashville, TN

Nashville poverty down, but disparities still deep, By Tony Gonzalez, April 28, 2015, The Tennessean: “Poverty in Nashville lessened for the fourth straight year in 2013, but pockets of high need have proliferated since 2000, according to the latest Metro Social Services analysis presented Tuesday. The overall poverty rate dipped to 17.8 percent, but the higher rate for children remained stubborn at 30.5 percent. Poverty for a family of four is defined as no more than $24,250 in household income…”

Wisconsin Poverty Report

Despite job gains, poverty in Wisconsin ticks up, report says, By Bill Glauber, April 20, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Despite modest improvement in employment, poverty rose slightly in Wisconsin between 2012 and 2013, according to a study released Tuesday by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. The Wisconsin Poverty Measure rose from 10.2% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2013, around 2.5 percentage points below the official poverty rate. The figures are contained in the seventh Wisconsin Poverty Report produced by the Institute for Research on Poverty…”

Ohio Poverty Report

Report: Half of Ohioans one paycheck away from poverty, By Jona Ison, March 11, 2015, Marion Star: “Despite a rosy outlook on employment, poverty in Ohio is the highest since 1960, and about half of Ohioans are one paycheck away from not making ends meet.  In 2012, 1.8 million Ohioans — 16.3 percent of residents — were living in poverty, up about 100,000 people from 2010. Poverty is growing fastest in Ohio’s suburbs, nearly twice as fast as in metropolitan areas, according to the annual State of Poverty report released this week by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies…”

Poverty Measurement

Who’s poor? Depends how you measure it, By Amy Crawford, March 1, 2015, Boston Globe: “As Mitt Romney flirted with the idea of a third presidential run in January, the former Massachusetts governor called for a new war on poverty in America. Romney’s remarks, which briefly got both parties talking about the issue, were surprising not only because he had drawn flak during his 2012 campaign for claiming that he was ‘not concerned about the very poor,’ but also because American political discourse has always focused more on the frustrations of the middle class than the struggles of the least fortunate.  One reason politicians target their appeals to people in the middle of the socioeconomic scale is pragmatic: They are more likely to vote than those at the bottom. But it’s also because poverty is a particularly intractable and confounding problem. As a culture, we’re not sure how to explain who ends up in poverty—whether they’re disadvantaged by the system, lazy, or just unlucky. In fact, we can’t even agree on what poverty means…”

Supplemental Poverty Measure

  • Report: Kansas child poverty would double without government aid, By Jonathan Shorman, February 25, 2015, Topeka Capital-Journal: “Twice as many Kansas children would be in poverty without government aid, a new report shows.  According to just-released data from Kids Count, a data project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, government programs have kept about 103,000 children out of poverty in the past few years. Kansas’ child poverty rate, which stands at 15 percent under the Kids Count measure, would rise to 30 percent without assistance…”
  • Government programs cut state’s child poverty in half, report says, By Katie Johnson, February 25, 2015, Boston Globe: “More than 220,000 children in Massachusetts were kept out of poverty with the help of government assistance — reducing the child poverty rate by half, according to a report to be released Wednesday.  Nationwide, state and federal programs such as tax credits, nutrition and energy assistance, and housing subsidies cut the child poverty rate from 33 to 18 percent, keeping more than 11 million children out of poverty, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore philanthropy that helps children at risk of poor educational, economic, social, and health outcomes…”
  • Decades-old poverty measurements inaccurate, says report by Annie E. Casey Foundation, By Mike Averill, February 25, 2015, Tulsa World: “Decades-old poverty measurements fail to show the effect of programs designed to combat childhood poverty, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  ‘Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States,’ released Wednesday by the foundation, points to the Supplement Poverty Measure as a better index for measuring poverty because, unlike the official federal measurement created in the 1960s, this method captures the effect of safety-net programs and tax policies on families.  When using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, the rate of children in poverty in Oklahoma drops from 30 percent to 14 percent, according to the report…”

Child Poverty – Canada

  • 25 years after Ottawa’s pledge to end child poverty, it’s time to hit ‘reset’, By Marco Chown Oved, November 19, 2014, Toronto Star: “It’s been 25 years since members of Parliament unanimously voted to eradicate child poverty. Their self-imposed deadline came and went almost 15 years ago. In that time, millions of children in Canada have grown up in deplorable conditions, often cold, hungry and ill — and some of them are now raising their own kids in the same situation. On the anniversary of the government’s unfulfilled pledge, almost 1.2 million children go to school hungry, don’t have a good winter coat or can’t afford to play sports. Religious leaders, economists, teachers and doctors say it’s time to reset the clock on the pledge to ending child poverty and embark anew on the road to ensuring that every Canadian child gets a good start in life…”
  • Patchwork of employment perpetuates poverty cycle for Toronto family, By Sara Mojtehedzadeh, November 19, 2014, Toronto Star: “Richard Wang is a man of many trades. He is a dishwasher, a doorman, a food taster and a tour guide. He scrubs toilets and flips hamburgers. When luck strikes, he gets paid $50 to be CT-scanned or x-rayed at a teaching hospital. But most of all, Richard Wang is a father. His dizzying schedule and patchwork of low-paid work are stitched together for a single mission: to be the best dad possible to his 8-year-old son. ‘I want to make sure that Noah’s development, especially emotionally, is OK. Whatever he needs, I provide it,’ says Wang. It’s not easy. Like a growing number of Canadians, Wang is stuck in the kind of precarious work that grants him few rights, no benefits, and little control over his life…”