Press Releases | Inequality and Poverty

News from EPI New poverty measure highlights positive effect of government assistance

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Contact:
Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, news@epi.org202-775-8810

New poverty measure highlights positive effect of government assistance

The U.S. Census Bureau recently unveiled the Research Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a more dynamic method of assessing poverty that highlights the dire circumstances of numerous Americans after government policy intervention (e.g., food stamps, child care subsidies, etc.).The new measure calculates higher levels of poverty – 49 million people, or 16 percent of the population under the SPM, versus 46.6 million, or 15.2 percent under the official poverty threshold – and a far greater proportion of people living at very modest means.  Today’s Snapshot shows what the poverty rate would be under the SPM, in the absence of certain government programs.