A Modern Framework for Measuring Poverty and Basic Economic Security
AbstractThis report details how the dominant framework for understanding and measuring poverty in the United States has become a conservative one. The current U.S. approach to measuring poverty views poverty only in terms of having an extremely low level of annual income, and utilizes poverty thresholds that are adjusted only for inflation rather than for changes in overall living standards. As a result, the official poverty measure has effectively defined deprivation down over the last four decades, moving it further and further away from mainstream living standards over time, as well as from majority public opinion of the minimum amount needed to “get along” at a basic level. A new Supplemental Income Poverty Measure (SIPM) proposed by the Obama administration makes some important improvements to the current poverty measure. However, the SIPM remains a conservative approach that appears likely to lock in the poverty line at an extremely low level. This report proposes a new framework for measuring poverty and basic economic security in the United States. Instead of being limited to the “extremely-low-income-only” approach the current poverty line and administration’s proposed Supplemental Income Poverty Measure (SIPM) represent, this framework should utilize measures of low income and other forms of economic hardship related to low income.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in its series CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs with number 2010-12.
Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
poverty; disability; poverty level; poverty measure;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I - Health, Education, and Welfare
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J - Labor and Demographic Economics
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
- J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-05-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2010-05-02 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-PKE-2010-05-02 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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.:
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0719, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
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