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Has Poverty Gotten Worse?

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  • Robert K. Triest

Abstract

The official U.S. government figures showed an increase in the poverty rate from 11.1 percent in 1973 to 13.8 percent in 1995. However, some maintain that this upward trend is due to defects in the official poverty measure. This paper analyzes alternative measures of poverty and concludes that nearly all reasonable alternatives show similar trends in poverty over the recent past. There has been an increase in the percentage of people in the United States who are poor, although one can argue that the official Census figures either understate or somewhat overstate the increase.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert K. Triest, 1998. "Has Poverty Gotten Worse?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 97-114, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:1:p:97-114
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.97
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.1.97
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Smeeding & Gunther Schmaus & Brigitte Buhmann & Lee Rainwater, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates Across Ten Countries Using the LIS Database," LIS Working papers 17, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-142, June.
    3. Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2004. "From the tallest to (one of) the fattest: the enigmatic fate of the American population in the 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 57-74, March.
    2. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," NBER Working Papers 14827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kishor Thanawala & Robert DeFina, 2002. "International Evidence on the Impact of Transfers and Taxes on Alternative Poverty Indexes," LIS Working papers 325, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. Mehanna, Rock-Antoine, 2004. "Poverty and economic development: not as direct as it may seem," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 217-228, April.
    5. Howard White, 1999. "Global poverty reduction: are we heading in the right direction?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 503-519.
    6. Kuan Xu & Ian Irvine, 2002. "Crime, Punishment and the Measurement of Poverty in the United States, 1979-1997," LIS Working papers 333, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    7. Robert Haveman & Andrew Bershadker, 1998. "'Inability to Be Self-reliant' as an Indicator of U.S. Poverty: Measurement, Comparisons, and Implications," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_247, Levy Economics Institute.
    8. Urvashi Dhawan-Biswal, 2002. "Consumption and Income Inequality: The Case of Atlantic Canada from 1969­1996," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(4), pages 513-537, December.
    9. Adam Bee & Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2013. "The Validity of Consumption Data: Are the Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary Surveys Informative?," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 204-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Robert H. DeFina, 2002. "The impact of unemployment on alternative poverty measures," Working Papers 02-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    11. Keane, Michael & Prasad, Eswar, 2001. "Social Transfers and Inequality During the Polish Transition," MPRA Paper 54326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Marta Moratti, 2010. "Consumption Poverty and Pro-Poor Growth in Bolivia," Working Paper Series 1310, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    13. Thesia I. Garner & Katherine S. Short, 2008. "Creating a Consistent Poverty Measure Over Time Using NAS Procedures: 1996-2005," Working Papers 417, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    14. David Brady, 2002. "Rethinking the Sociological Measurement of Poverty," LIS Working papers 264, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    15. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2006. "Consumption, Income, and Material Well-Being After Welfare Reform," NBER Working Papers 11976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Steven Pressman, 2006. "The Decline of the Middle Class: An International Perspective," LIS Working papers 280, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    17. Walker, Thomas S., 2000. "Reasonable expectations on the prospects for documenting the impact of agricultural research on poverty in ex-post case studies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 515-530, August.
    18. Robert H. DeFina, 2007. "A comparison of poverty trends and policy impacts for working families using different poverty indexes," Working Papers 07-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    19. Asena Caner & Ed Wolff, 2002. "Asset Poverty in the United States, 1984-1999: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Microeconomics 0209002, EconWPA.
    20. Thomas F. Crossley & Lori J. Curtis, 2006. "Child Poverty In Canada," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(2), pages 237-260, June.
    21. Lanjouw, Peter & Milanovic, Branko & Paternostro, Stefano, 1998. "Poverty and the economic transition : how do changes in economies of scale affect poverty rates for different households?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2009, The World Bank.
    22. Donald Wellington & Sourushe Zandvakili, 2001. "The globalization of poverty according to Malthus," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 59-71, September.
    23. Ian Irvine & Kuan Xu, 2002. "Crime, Punishment and Poverty in the United States," Department of Economics at Dalhousie University working papers archive uspov, Dalhousie, Department of Economics.
    24. R. Haveman & A. Bershadker, "undated". "The “Inability to Be Self-Reliant” as an Indicator of Poverty: Trends in the United States, 1975–1995," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1171-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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