University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Family instability and the risk of material hardship

The fiftieth anniversary of the War on Poverty this year has sparked discussion on many fronts. Researchers and policymakers have been taking stock of the nation’s progress in addressing disadvantage, and much of the public conversation has focused on changes in the official poverty rate, with some attention paid to poverty estimates using alternative poverty measures. Those who follow poverty trends know that the official federal poverty measure obscures much of the progress that the social safety net has made in reducing poverty, because it does not include in-kind benefits in its resource measure. The Supplemental Poverty Measure introduced in 2010, which includes the value of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Earned Income Tax Credit, shows decreases in poverty and substantial declines in deep poverty as a result of public expenditures. Much less attention has been paid to direct measures of material well-being, such as food insecurity, medical hardships, housing hardships, and difficulty in paying bills.

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Food & Nutrition, Food Insecurity, Health, Health General, Housing, Housing General, Poverty Measurement, U.S. Poverty Measures

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