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The Extent of Material Hardship and Poverty in the United States

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  • Robert Rector
  • Kirk Johnson
  • Sarah Youssef
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    Abstract

    The Census Bureau has estimated the nation's annual poverty rate since 1963 using data from the Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted in March of each year. Census deems a household “poor” if annual income falls below specified income thresholds. There are two problems with this methodology. First, the Current Population Survey dramatically undercounts household economic resources. Second, the fact that household income falls below a specific level reveals little about the nature of material deprivation within the household. This paper will take an alternative approach to assessing poverty: examining the material living conditions of low-income Americans. Using data from various government surveys this paper examines ownership of property and consumer durables; housing space, and housing conditions; food and nutriment consumption; and the height, thinness and obesity of low-income persons. Finally, we attempt an overall assessment of material deprivation based on material living conditions.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00346769900000007
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.

    Volume (Year): 57 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 351-387

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:57:y:1999:i:3:p:351-387

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    Related research

    Keywords: poverty; living conditions; housing; hunger; income; malnutrition;

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    Cited by:
    1. Luis Ayala & Antonio Jurado & Jesús Pérez-Mayo, 2009. "Income Poverty and Multidimensional Deprivation: Lessons from Cross-Regional Analysis," Working Papers 106, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. Afshin Zilanawala & Natasha V. Pilkauskas, 2011. "Low-Income Mothers’ Material Hardship and Children’s Socioemotional WellBeing," Working Papers 1288, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    3. Roderick Rose & Susan Parish & Joan Yoo, 2009. "Measuring Material Hardship among the US Population of Women with Disabilities Using Latent Class Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 391-415, December.
    4. Corman, Hope & Noonan, Kelly & Reichman, Nancy E. & Schultz, Jennifer, 2012. "Effects of financial insecurity on social interactions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 574-583.
    5. Iceland, John & Bauman, Kurt J., 2007. "Income poverty and material hardship: How strong is the association?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 376-396, June.
    6. Ayala, Luis & Navarro, Carolina, 2007. "The dynamics of housing deprivation," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 72-97, March.
    7. James X. Sullivan & Lesley Turner & Sheldon Danziger, 2008. "The relationship between income and material hardship," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 63-81.

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