Alternative Measures of Income Poverty and the Anti-Poverty Effects of Taxes and Transfers
The Census Bureau prepared a number of alternative income-based measures of poverty to illustrate the distributional impacts of several alternatives to the official measure. The paper examines five income variants for two different units of analysis (families and households) for two different assumptions about inflation (the historical Consumer Price Index and a “Research Series” alternative that uses current methods) for two different sets of thresholds (official and a formula-based alternative base on three parameters). The poverty rate effects are analyzed for the total population, the distributional effects are analyzed using poverty shares, and the anti-poverty effects of taxes and transfers are analyzed using a percentage reduction in poverty rates. Suggestions for future research are included.
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