Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Supplemental Poverty Measure Thresholds: Imputing School Lunch and WIC Benefits to the Consumer Expenditure Survey Using the Current Population Survey


Author Info

  • Thesia I. Garner

    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Charles Hokayem

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

Registered author(s):


    In March 2010 an Interagency Technical Working Group (ITWG) released guidelines on thresholds and resources for a Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The ITWG recommended that thresholds include in-kind benefits that are accounted for in resources; however, only limited in-kind benefit information is available in the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) Interview component, the data source upon which the thresholds are based. For example, the CE collects information on food expenditures that implicitly include the cash value of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) but no information on other food programs. This study introduces a new method, the CPS Program Participation Method, of imputing benefits for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC). In this study, data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the data source upon which the SPM resource measure is based, are used to model the participation of CE households in the NSLP and WIC using the CPS Program Participation Method. These CPSbased participation rates for NSLP and WIC are then used along with U.S. Department of Agriculture information to assign benefit levels to the CE households. Thresholds based on the CPS Program Participation Method are produced for 2009 and compared to thresholds based on a method based on program eligibility guidelines, the CE Eligibility Method. SPM thresholds are produced by housing types as well as overall. No poverty rates using these thresholds are produced. Results reveal that the CE Eligibility Method overall threshold is higher than the CPS Program Participation Method overall threshold. This is not surprising since the CE threshold is based on eligibility while the CPS threshold is based on program participation. The paired CE and CPS based thresholds are also statistically significantly different from each other for owners with mortgages and for owners without mortgages. When housing tenure thresholds are compared to each other within each method group, statistically significant differences arise for two of the three pairs of thresholds. In particular, the thresholds for owners without a mortgage were found to be different from the thresholds of both owners with a mortgage and renters, while the thresholds for owners with a mortgage and renters did not differ from each other at the significance levels used for testing.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 457.

    as in new window
    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec120060

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E. Room 2860, Washington, D. C. 20212
    Phone: (202) 606-5900
    Fax: (202) 606-7890
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords: Supplemental poverty measurement; Consumer Expenditure Survey; Current Population Survey; In-kind transfers; Imputation;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Laura Tiehen & Alison Jacknowitz, 2008. "Why Wait?: Examining Delayed Wic Participation Among Pregnant Women," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 518-538, October.
    2. Newman, Constance & Ralston, Katherine L., 2006. "Profiles of Participants in the National School Lunch Program: Data From Two National Surveys," Economic Information Bulletin 7085, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Oliveira, Victor & Frazao, Elizabeth, 2009. "The WIC Program: Background, Trends, and Economic Issues, 2009 Edition," Economic Research Report 55839, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    4. Laura Castner & James Mabli & Julie Sykes, 2009. "Dynamics of WIC Program Participation by Infants and Children, 2001 to 2003," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 6258, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Swann Christopher A, 2010. "WIC Eligibility and Participation: The Roles of Changing Policies, Economic Conditions, and Demographics," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-37, March.
    6. Marianne Bitler & Janet Currie, 2004. "Medicaid at Birth, WIC Take Up, and Children's Outcomes," Working Papers 172, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
    7. Jacknowitz, Alison & Tiehen, Laura, 2010. "WIC Participation Patterns: An Investigation of Delayed Entry and Early Exit," Economic Research Report 102759, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)



    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec120060. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gregory Kurtzon).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.