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The Extent of Material Hardship and Poverty in the United States

Author

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  • Robert Rector
  • Kirk Johnson
  • Sarah Youssef

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Rector & Kirk Johnson & Sarah Youssef, 1999. "The Extent of Material Hardship and Poverty in the United States," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 57(3), pages 351-387.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:57:y:1999:i:3:p:351-387 DOI: 10.1080/00346769900000007
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:pri:crcwel:wp11-02-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. 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: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 391-415, December.
    5. Mahadevan, Renuka & Hoang, Viet-Ngu, 2016. "The nexus between poverty and deprivation in Vietnam," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 290-303.
    6. Ayala, Luis & Navarro, Carolina, 2007. "The dynamics of housing deprivation," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 72-97, March.
    7. Luis Ayala & Antonio Jurado & Jesús Pérez‐Mayo, 2011. "Income Poverty And Multidimensional Deprivation: Lessons From Cross‐Regional Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(1), pages 40-60, March.
    8. Colleen Heflin, 2016. "Family Instability and Material Hardship: Results from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 359-372, September.
    9. Natasha V. Pilkauskas & Janet Currie & Irwin Garfinkel, 2011. "The Great Recession and Material Hardship," Working Papers 1312, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    10. 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.
    11. 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..

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