Canadian Social Research Links

Poverty Measures
International Resources

Sites de recherche sociale au Canada

Mesures de pauvreté :
ressources internationales

Updated August 29, 2015
Page révisée le 29 août 2015

[ Go to Canadian Social Research Links Home Page ]


On this page, you'll find links to American and other selected international resources on the subject of poverty measures.
See also:

* Poverty Measures: Canadian resources page
*
Social Statistics page
*
Asset-Based Social Policies Links page

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The links below will take you further down
on the page you're now reading:

* Reference budgets (a.k.a. standard budgets or basic needs budgets) in Europe
* Standard Budgets in the United States Since 2006 (By Gordon Fisher (2012, posted online in April 2015)
* Happy Planet Index
* The Supplemental Poverty Measure
* How's Life 2013 : Measuring Well-Being
* World Happiness Report 2013
* 2013 (Annual) Update of the Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines
* An International Prosperity Index
* Poverty Guidelines, Research and Measurement (Health and Human Services)
* Mollie Orshansky and her poverty thresholds
* New York City poverty measure initiative

* Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013

* Census Bureau Poverty Page
* Archive : The 2008 U.S. Presidential Election and American poverty measures
---
* The Better Life Index
(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)

* United Kingdom
* International (miscellaneous links)

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Related Canadian Social Research Links pages:

American Government Social Research Links
American Non-Government Social Research Links (A-J)
American Non-Government Social Research Links (M-Z)
U.S. Social Security Reform
Children and Families - International
Social Research Statistics
Poverty measures:
- Canadian poverty measures

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Welfare reform - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Movements in many countries around the world push for welfare reform. Sizeable and powerful reform movements exist in the United States of America, Canada, Great Britain, and France among many others.
- incl. the following : * United States * The Welfare System and reform in Great Britain * The Welfare System and reform in France *

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Measuring poverty
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

-----------------------------------------------------------


Measuring Poverty: A New Approach
(U.S.)

1995 - 536 pages

Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance: Concepts, Information Needs, and Measurement Methods

Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council

Read it Online
Source:
National Academy Press (NAP)

 


Poverty Dispatch
- U.S.
[NOTE: Content updated most weekdays.]
- links to news items back to July 2006, mostly from the American press, about poverty, homelessness, welfare reform, child welfare, education, health, hunger, Medicare and Medicaid, etc.

Source:
Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP)
[ University of Wisconsin-Madison ]

*********************************************

Absolute or relative?
"The contradiction in relying upon an 'absolute' poverty threshold in terms of commodities or incomes is evident by the empirical observation that these necessities are seen to change through time as communities experience economic growth and changes occur in both the goods that are available and the consumption patterns of the majority. This suggests that in some fundamental way it is not a simple task to gauge even the basics of survival without reference to the wider community."
Source:
Principles and Practicalities for
Measuring Child Poverty in the Rich Countries
(PDF - 231K, 69 pages)
April 2005
By Miles Corak
[The author is Director of Family and Labour Studies at Statistics Canada.]
Source:
Institute for the Study of Labor

 


COMMENT (by Gilles):

There's an important distinction between the Canadian and American government poverty measurement.

In the U.S., eligibility for certain programs [ http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/faq.shtml#programs ] is actually tied to an official federal government poverty measure. (However, eligibility for state welfare programs that fall under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families umbrella is means-tested and not related to any poverty measure.)

In Canada, eligibility for all provincial and territorial welfare programs for individuals and families is "needs-tested". Needs-testing and means-testing mean the same thing in this context --- they both involve a test that takes into account a household's financial resources and its needs.

More Resources on U.S. Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/contacts.shtml

--- More differences between welfare in Canada and the U.S.
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/canada_us_welfare.htm

 

 

The links on this page are organized in reverse chronological order, for the most part...
[ NOTE : links in the top left corner of the above table will take you directly to specific sections of the page below.]

Human Rights and Poverty Reduction Strategies:
A Guide to International Human Rights Law and its
Domestic Application in Poverty Reduction Strategies
(PDF - 217KB, 20 pages)
http://www.cwp-csp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/FINAL-Human-Rights-Guide-August-2015.pdf

Table of contents:

* Introduction
* Who should read this Guide?
* What you will learn from this Guide?

II. The Human Rights Approach
What are human rights and where do they come from?
How are human rights relevant to my work?
What rights are important for people living in poverty?
What is the human rights approach to poverty reduction?
Why is the human rights approach the right approach?

III. Putting the Human Rights Approach into Action
Identifying people living in poverty
Incorporating international human rights standards
Consulting people who live in poverty
Promoting substantive equality and non-discrimination
Setting goals and establishing timelines
Monitoring progress
Ensuring accountability

IV. Checklist

Selected content (from the Foreword):
This Guide is not intended to replace existing poverty reduction strategies, but to inform their development and execution. It is designed to complement, strengthen and give greater meaning to the vital work that is already being done to address poverty in provinces and municipalities across Canada.

Source:
Canada Without Poverty

http://www.cwp-csp.ca/

Reference budgets (a.k.a. standard budgets or basic needs budgets) in Europe.
For the last 20 years, the European Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament have emphasized the importance of active inclusion policies and adequate minimum income support. In 2013, the European Commission proposed that reference budgets (a.k.a. standard budgets or basic needs budgets) be used as an instrument to help Member States to design efficient and adequate income support, and to facilitate the Commission's task of monitoring the adequacy of income support in Europe. Reference budgets are already widely used in Europe by various nongovernment and government organizations for many different purposes. At present, however, reference budgets in different countries are generally developed in isolation from each other, using different theoretical and methodological approaches, so that the results are not comparable from country to country. At the end of 2013, a pilot project for the development of a common methodology for reference budgets was initiated.

Pilot project for the development of a common methodology on reference budgets in Europe:
Review of current state of play on reference budget practices at national, regional, and local level
(PDF - 1.8MB, 146 pages)
http://www.referencebudgets.eu/budgets/images/ref%20budgets_d1_literature%20review_final.pdf
April 2014
By Bérénice Storms et al.
(...) This paper presents an overview of the Reference Budgets (RBs) that have been constructed in EU Member States during the past 40 years or which are being constructed at the moment. It summarises the relevant literature and presents the results of a survey on reference budgets among national experts in the 28 EU Member States. It also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of RBs. Finally, it proposes a number of criteria to which valid and useful RBs should conform.
[Source : Executive Summary]

Source:
European Reference Budgets Network

http://www.referencebudgets.eu/budgets/index.php
Over the past 30 years, the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament have emphasised the importance of active inclusion policies and adequate minimum income support.
More recently, as part of the Social Investment Package : [ http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=1044&newsId=1807&furtherNews=yes ]
adopted in February 2013, the Commission proposed the use of reference budgets as an instrument to help Member States design efficient and adequate income support and to facilitate the Commission’s task of monitoring the adequacy of income support in Europe.

European Commission
http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm

TED Talk of the Week: The Happy Planet Index (video, duration 17:21)
A new way to measure success and growth that focuses on happiness and a clean world.
http://www.goodnet.org/articles/ted-talk-week-happy-planet-index
Apr 21, 2015

---

The Happiest Countries in the World (in 2012)
https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/non-economic-data/happiest-countries
By Tina Aridas
April 22, 2015
There are a variety of different methodologies being used to study the relatively new field of Happiness Economics. Global Finance presents here results from the 2012 Happy Planet Index and the 2012 OECD Better Life Index with particular reference to the Life Satisfaction survey. Costa Rica, often high in life happiness rankings, tops the first of the two indices, while Denmark leads Norway among OECD countries.

Source:
Global Finance Magazine

https://www.gfmag.com/

---------------------------------------

Related Links:

Happy Planet Index (HPI)
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the leading global measure of sustainable well-being. The HPI measures what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them. The Index uses global data on life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint to calculate this. The index is an efficiency measure, it ranks countries on how many long and happy lives they produce per unit of environmental input.

The Happy Planet Index : 2012 report
A Global Index of Sustainable Well-Being
(PDF - 2.5MB, 27 pages)
http://www.happyplanetindex.org/assets/happy-planet-index-report.pdf

HPI is a project of
nef (New Economics Foundation)

Based in the U.K., nef is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being.

---

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development:
Better Life Index

http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/

---

A Map of Happiness Around the World [INFOGRAPHIC]
http://www.goodnet.org/articles/map-happiness-around-world-infographic

Standard Budgets (Basic Needs Budgets) in the United States Since 2006
http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/publications/other/udusbd3.pdf
By Gordon M. Fisher
August 2012
[Posted to the Census Bureau website in April 2015]
- contains links to dozens of online related reports

A “standard budget” is a list of goods and services that a family of a specified size and composition–and sometimes of a specified social class or occupational group–would need to live at a designated level of well-being, together with the estimated monthly or annual costs of those goods and services. Other terms used for the “standard budget” concept in recent American literature include “basic needs budget,” “family budget,” and “expert budget.” In other countries such as Britain and Australia, the term used for this concept in recent literature is “budget standard(s).”

Since about 1990, a number of analysts have developed standard budgets in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and other countries.
For a paper reviewing this work from about 1990 through 2006, see Fisher (2007):
[http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/papers/std-budgets/index.htm ]

The present paper updates the 2007 paper for the U. S. only, covering work since 2006. The majority of budgets referenced are still for working-age families with children at a “no-frills” standard of living, but there are more exceptions to that generalization than there were during the 1990-2006 period.

Source:
U.S. Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/

From the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development:

How's Life 2013 : Measuring Well-Being
http://www.oecd.org/statistics/howslife.htm
November 2013
Every person aspires to a good life. But what does “a good or a better life” mean? The second edition of How’s Life? paints a comprehensive picture of well-being in OECD countries and other major economies, by looking at people’s material living conditions and quality of life across the population. In addition, the report contains in-depth studies of four key cross-cutting issues in well-being that are particularly relevant: how has well-being evolved during the global economic and financial crisis?; how big are gender differences in well-being?; how can we assess well-being in the workplace?; and how to define and measure the sustainability of well-being over time.

OECD report measures human cost of crisis; underlines need to invest in well-being
http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecd-report-measures-human-cost-of-crisis-underlines-need-to-invest-in-well-being.htm
News Re
lease
November 5, 2013

Read the complete book by chapter:
http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/how-s-life-2013_9789264201392-en
1. The OECD Better Life Initiative: Concepts and indicators
2. How's Life? at a glance
3. Well-being and the global financial crisis
4. Gender differences in well-being: Can women and men have it all?
5. Well-being in the workplace: Measuring job quality
6. Measuring the sustainability of well-being over time

Complete report online
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/economics/how-s-life-2013_9789264201392-en

Related links:

Country snapshot : Canada (PDF - 1.7MB, 4 pages)
http://www.oecd.org/statistics/HsL-Country-Note-CANADA.pdf

Country snapshots
Click "Related links" above to access country reports for the following :
* Australia * Austria * Belgium * Canada * Denmark * France * Germany * Greece * Italy * Japan * Mexico * Netherlands * New Zealand * Spain * United-Kingdom * United States

More OECD reports about Canada
http://www.oecd.org/canada/

---

How’s Life? is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, launched by the Organization on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary in 2011. The OECD Better Life Initiative aims to promote "Better Policies for Better Lives", in line with the OECD’s overarching mission. One of the other pillars of the OECD Better Life Initiative is the Better Life Index ( http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/ ), an interactive composite index of well-being that aims at involving citizens in the debate on societal progress.

---

Source:
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

http://www.oecd.org/
The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change.

Sizing up poverty in Hong Kong
http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1320690/sizing-poverty-hong-kong
September 30, 2013
By Carrie Lam
Publication of Hong Kong's first official poverty line at the Commission on Poverty summit on Saturday marked a significant step forward in poverty-alleviation work. As chairwoman of the commission, I am indebted to members for their hard work in the past 10 months.

As the chief executive has said, the government has a duty to assist the poor. To ensure we do a proper job, he gave the commission the task of drawing a poverty line which is credible and generally accepted, locally and internationally. The consensus reached reflects a wish to better understand the poverty situation and an earnest desire to provide clear policy direction for poverty-alleviation measures.

The official poverty line has three functions: it measures and analyses poverty here; facilitates evidence-based policymaking; and, assesses the effectiveness of policy intervention.
(...)
Hong Kong's poor population last year was around 1.02 million (403,000 households), representing a poverty rate of 15.2 per cent.

[ Author Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is Hong Kong's chief secretary ]

Source:
South China Morning Post
http://www.scmp.com/

---

- Go to the Social Research Links in Other Countries (Non-Government) page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/internatngo.htm

[U.S.] - Official Poverty Measure Masks Gains Made Over Last 50 Years
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4015
By Arloc Sherman
September 13, 12013

With the Census Bureau due to release updated figures about poverty in America on September 17, some policymakers and commentators surely will compare today’s poverty rate to those of 1960s and conclude that the last half-century of federal efforts to alleviate poverty have largely failed — that, as some critics put it glibly, “the government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.” But that’s simply not valid or accurate. Comparing today’s official poverty rate with those of the 1960s yields highly distorted results because the official poverty measure captures so little of the poverty relief that today’s safety net now provides.

View the full report:
HTML :
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=4015
PDF (9 pages) : http://www.cbpp.org/files/9-13-13pov.pdf

Source:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
http://www.cbpp.org/
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is one of the nation’s premier policy organizations working at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

World Happiness Report 2013
http://unsdsn.org/happiness/
Report calls on policy makers to make happiness a key measure and target of development
Report ranks the happiest countries, with Northern Europe in the lead
NEW YORK,
September 9, 2013
As heads of state get ready for the United Nations General Assembly in two weeks, the second World Happiness Report further strengthens the case that well-being should be a critical component of how the world measures its economic and social development. The report is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), under the auspices of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Download the complete report:

PDF version (2.3MB, 156 pages)
http://unsdsn.org/files/2013/09/WorldHappinessReport2013_online.pdf

Online version (requires Flash Player)
http://issuu.com/earthinstitute/docs/worldhappinessreport2013_online

Online Annexes:
http://unsdsn.org/happiness/#related
* World Happiness: Trends, Explanations and Distribution (Distribution tables for chapter 2 - no text)
* How mental health affects life-satisfaction by Sarah Flèche (mostly stats)

Source:
UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
http://unsdsn.org/

------------------

Related link:

Canada is one of the happiest countries in the world, study finds
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-is-one-of-the-happiest-countries-in-the-world-study-finds/article14183382/
By Tavia Grant
September 9, 2013
Canada is one of the happiest countries in the world, according to a global ranking of well-being that uses measures such as life expectancy and corruption to assess the progress of nations. Canada ranks sixth in the United Nations’ second world happiness report. That's down a notch from the last ranking – not because Canadians are any less happy, but because Switzerland leapfrogged into the top five. Denmark tops the list, followed by Norway.

87 comments about this article:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-is-one-of-the-happiest-countries-in-the-world-study-finds/article14183382/comments/

Source:
The Globe and Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Recent research on Poverty Measurement found in
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity:

Drawing the Line (PDF - 788K, 5 pages)
http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/research/econ_focus/2013/q1/pdf/cover_story.pdf
By Jessie Romero
Econ Focus-Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
May 2013
New measures of poverty illustrate just how hard it is to define who is poor.

---

The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005-2011 (PDF - 3.2MB, 109 pages)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/ceo_poverty_measure_2005_2011.pdf
New York City Center for Economic Opportunity
April 2013
(...) In the context of politicalstalemate and a policy environment that is focused on reducing the Federal budget deficit, progress in reducing poverty will depend to a large degree on a rising economic tide lifting enough boats.

---

The four reports above were found in
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity:
http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity : The Source for News, Ideas and Action is a non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans.

From the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

Canada ranks 3rd in survey of rich nations
Australia leads 'Better Life Index': OECD

http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/map-better-life-index/
May 28, 2013
News Release
Australia, Sweden and Canada rank highest in the 'Better Life Index' released by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. A total of 24 factors are used to compile the index, including health, job security, life satisfaction, air quality and safety. The OECD noted that Canada excels in the areas of civic engagement and life expectancy but noted there is a marked gap between rich and poor.

Source:
CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/

---

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development launches
Better Life Index 3.0: Life satisfaction, health, education top list

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/oecdlaunchesbetterlifeindex30lifesatisfactionhealtheducationtoplist.htm
May 28, 2013
News Release
The OECD today launched a 3.0 version of its pioneering Better Life Index (see the link below), an online, interactive tool that allows people to create their own index according to their priorities in 11 areas that the OECD has identified as essential for well-being. The updated version contains the latest underlying statistics, country data, user findings and a translation into Spanish.

Better Life Index
http//www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org
How’s life?
There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics – This Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.
- includes the following factors:
* Housing * Income * Jobs * Community * Education * Environment * Civic engagement * Health * Life Satisfaction * Safety * Work-Life Balance

Countries : Canada
http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/canada/

OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2012
http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/economics/oecd-economic-surveys-canada-2012_eco_surveys-can-2012-en
OECD's 2012 survey of the Canadian economy examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects, and takes a specia

Source:
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
http://www.oecd.org/

---

There may be millions more poor people in the US than you think
http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/03/17671753-there-may-be-millions-more-poor-people-in-the-us-than-you-think
By Erin McClam
May 3, 2013
It is responsible for an estimated half-trillion dollars in federal spending every year, is hated by nearly everyone who studies it and is based on an American lifestyle older than the space program. Yet the figure known as the “poverty line” is almost certainly here to stay. That’s partly because a more accurate measure of who is poor could add millions of Americans to the rolls — something few lawmakers want to have happen on their watch.
(...)
The poverty line was conceived by a civil servant named Mollie Orshansky who worked for the Social Security Administration and was herself the daughter of poor Ukrainian immigrants. She totaled up the cost of the cheapest three-meals-a-day plan that the federal government considered nutritionally adequate in 1963.
(...)
The problem, as social scientists and at least some legislators see it, is that measuring poverty that way is not just outdated but simplistic:
The federal poverty line — $11,945 in cash income for a single adult, $23,283 for a couple with two kids — is the same whether you are poor in New York, the most expensive city in the United States, or poor in a small town in Nebraska. It is the same whether you take transit to work or are hostage to the whims of gas prices. It is the same whether Medicaid helps you with medical expenses or you pay out of pocket. It is the same whether you receive food stamps or pay for child care. It is the same regardless of how poor you are. For the purposes of some federal benefits, someone making a dollar below the poverty line is treated the same is someone making virtually nothing.

578 comments about this article
http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/03/17671753-there-may-be-millions-more-poor-people-in-the-us-than-you-think#comments
NOTE : The range of readers' comments illlustrates the acerbic dichotomy of American thinking about poverty and the relative merit of government assistance programs.

Source:
"In Plain Sight" --- a special initiative by NBC News to report on poverty in America.
http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/
NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Related links from the
New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) :

The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005 - 2011 (PDF - 3.2MB, 109 pages)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/ceo_poverty_measure_2005_2011.pdf
An Annual Report by the New York City
Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/
April 2013
The NYC Center for Economic Opportunity's annual report on poverty, "The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005 – 2011," reflects a turning point for the New York City economy. The proportion of working age New Yorkers holding a job rose and the recession-related fall in annual earnings was stopped. Stabilized earnings, expanded tax initiatives and increased enrollment in nutritional assistance programs left the 2011 CEO poverty rate statistically unchanged from 2010, highlighting the importance of both an improving economy and the social safety net.

Source:
New York City

http://www.nyc.gov/

---

COMMENT (by Gilles):

There's an important distinction between Canadian and American government poverty measurement.

In the U.S., eligibility for certain programs [ http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/faq.shtml#programs ] is actually tied to an official federal government poverty measure. (However, eligibility for state welfare programs that fall under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families umbrella is means-tested and not related to any poverty measure.)

In Canada, eligibility for all provincial and territorial welfare programs for individuals and families is "needs-tested". Needs-testing and means-testing mean the same thing in this context --- they both involve a test that takes into account a household's financial resources and its needs.

More Resources on U.S. Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/contacts.shtml

World poverty is shrinking rapidly, new index reveals:
UN development report uses nutrition and education as yardsticks as well as income
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/17/aid-trade-reduce-acute-poverty
By Tracy McVeigh
17 March 2013
Some of the poorest people in the world are becoming significantly less poor, according to a groundbreaking academic study which has taken a new approach to measuring deprivation. The report [see "Global MPI 2013" below], by Oxford University's poverty and human development initiative, predicts that countries among the most impoverished in the world could see acute poverty eradicated within 20 years if they continue at present rates.
(...)
The brighter global picture is the result of international and national aid and development projects investing in schools, health clinics, housing, infrastructure and improved access to water.
(..)
The study of the world's poorest one billion people uses a new measure, the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which was just updated in the 2013 UN report. It includes ten indicators to calculate poverty – nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling and attendance, cooking fuel, water, sanitation, electricity assets and a covered floor.

Source:
The Guardian (U.K.)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/

---

Global MPI 2013

Multidimensional Poverty Index [MPI] 2013 (PDF - 1.7MB, 8 pages)
http://www.ophi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Multidimensional-Poverty-Index-2013-Alkire-Roche-and-Seth.pdf?cda6c1
By Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Suman Seth
March 2013
The Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI is an international poverty measure developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) for the United Nations Development Programme’s flagship Human Development Report in 2010 [ http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/chapters/en/ ]. The innovative index reflects the multiple deprivations that a poor person faces with respect to education, health and living standards. This brief summarises a number of analyses of the MPI figures published in the HDR 2013, and shows how the MPI can be used.

Key findings from the global MPI 2013:
OPHI’s analyses of multidimensional poverty in 2013 span four topics:
* Dynamics: Of 22 countries for which we analysed changes in MPI poverty over time, 18 reduced poverty significantly.
*
India: India reduced multidimensional poverty significantly between 1999 and 2005/6, but the reduction was uneven across states and social groups, and much slower than in poorer neighbours Bangladesh and Nepal.
*
Bottom Billion: An analysis of where the poorest ‘Bottom Billion’ live using national averages finds they are located in just 30 countries; an analysis using individual poverty profiles finds they are actually spread across 100 countries, underscoring the importance of going beyond national averages.
* MPI 2013: Distribution and Disparity
NOTE : In the left and right margins of the Key Findings page, you'll find links to the following:
* MPI Data Bank (Country Briefings - Data Tables - Poverty maps - Case studies)
* Podcasts
* Methodology
* Resources
* FAQs
* Mapping the MPI
* MPI Case Studies

Source:
Global MPI (Multidimensional Poverty Index)
http://www.ophi.org.uk/multidimensional-poverty-index/
The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It complements traditional income-based poverty measures by capturing the severe deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.

History of the MPI
http://www.ophi.org.uk/background-to-the-mpi/
How the global MPI was developed for UNDP’s Human Development Report in 2010

Source:
Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)
http://www.ophi.org.uk/
OPHI is an economic research centre within the Oxford Department of International Development [ http://www.qeh.ox.ac.uk/ ] at the University of Oxford [ http://www.ox.ac.uk/ ]

Below the line: Poverty in America
Official figures say 46 million Americans live in poverty.
Beyond that, there's little about poverty that Americans can agree on.
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-Issues/2012/1007/Below-the-line-Poverty-in-America
By Jina Moore
October 7, 2012
Last month, the US Census Bureau released the latest official poverty figures, putting the number of poor people at 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population. That's the same as the previous year – meaning the United States has sustained, for the second year in a row, the biggest increase in poverty since the government started keeping poverty records in 1969.
But what do these numbers tell us?
And what are they used for?
And what – and who – might they leave out?

Source:
Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/
The Christian Science Monitor is an international news organization that delivers thoughtful, global coverage via its website, weekly magazine, daily news briefing, email newsletters, and mobile site. The Monitor is global, both in practice and in spirit. The Christian Science Monitor is a real news organization owned by a church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass.

Poverty and Social Exclusion : Reporting research, examining policy, stimulating debate
http://www.poverty.ac.uk/
This website is being developed to support the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom research project [ http://www.poverty.ac.uk/pse-research/pse-uk-2012 ] funded by the Economic and Social Research Council [ http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-060-25-0052/read ] .

This website aims to:
* engage a wide audience in the debate on poverty and social exclusion
* provide accurate and independent information, based on research evidence, on the nature and extent of poverty and social exclusion in the UK
* disseminate information on, and help improve, the measurement of poverty, social exclusion and standard of living in the UK and internationally
* more...
[ About Us : http://www.poverty.ac.uk/about-us ]

---

Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom research project
http://www.poverty.ac.uk/pse-research/pse-uk-2012

---

Economic and Social Research Council
http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-060-25-0052/read

What Does ‘Poverty’ Really Mean?
October 2011
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/features/poverty-tour/what-does-poverty-really-mean/
When we talk about the poverty rate or families living in poverty, what definition are we using for “poverty?” That depends on which government agency is providing the measure.

U.S. Poverty: A 10-Year Look
October 2011
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/features/poverty-tour/u-s-poverty-a-10-year-look/
In 2010, 46.2 million people are living in poverty, the largest number in the 52 years for which the poverty rate has been published. Check out this interactive chart, which offers a look at the growth of the poverty rate in the past 10 years.

---

Source:
The Poverty Tour
- October 2011
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/features/poverty-tour/
With nearly 50 million Americans now living in poverty, “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience” was the focus of five special episodes in October 2011. Each episode was devoted to video highlights from Tavis’ August 2011 18-city, 11-state poverty bus tour with his co-host on PRI’s Smiley & West radio show, Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West.

Wisconsin Poverty Report: How the Safety Net Protected Families from Poverty in 2010 (PDF - 2MB, 24 pages)
http://www.irp.wisc.edu/research/WisconsinPoverty/pdfs/WIPovSafetyNet_Apr2012.pdf
(Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, April 2012)

The New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) Poverty Measure, 2005-2010 (PDF - 3MB, 118 pages)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/CEO_Poverty_Measure_April_16.pdf
New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, April 2012

Two Generations in Poverty: Status and Trends among Parents and Children in the United States, 2000-2010 (PDF - 1.2MB, 17 pages)
http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/ascend/2011_Child_Trends_Final_Report.pdf

Source of the above list:
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action is a non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans.

Working Paper: The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005-2010
A Working Paper by the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity [CEO]
- (PDF - 3MB, 118 pages)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/CEO_Poverty_Measure_April_16.pdf
April 2012
This New York City Center for Economic Opportunity [CEO] working paper tracks the change in the poverty rate since the onset of the Great Recession. The paper explores the extent to which policy initiatives - including President Obama's stimulus programs and the City's effort to increase Food Stamp enrollment – offset the recession-related declines in earnings and alleviated what would otherwise have been a sharp spike in the City’s poverty rate.

Source:
NYC Center for Economic Opportunity
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/html/about/about.shtml
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established by New York City Mayor Bloomberg in December 2006 to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City.

More info about the NYC CEO:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/html/about/about.shtml

CEO Initiatives (PDF - 96K, 1 page):
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/ceo_programs_overview_12_09.pdf

Happiness, not growth
http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Happiness,-not-growth&id=42478
November 30, 2011
By René B. Azurin
An interesting experiment is now going on in the Himalayas. The tiny country of Bhutan has, after many years of study, discarded the metric of Gross National (or Domestic) Product as its measure of development and begun using a new one it calls Gross National Happiness. After a pilot test in 2007 to refine the indicators and tools to be used, Bhutan conducted its first nationwide survey in 2010 to establish baselines along the areas that make up the multidimensional metric. One could say that Buddhist Bhutan may be showing the world The Way.
Source:
BusinessWorld (Manila, Philippines)
http://www.bworldonline.com/

Related links:

Gross National Happiness
http://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/
The essence of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness is the peace and happiness of our people and the security and sovereignty of the nation.

Gross national happiness - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness
NOTE : See "External links" for more online information about GNH
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page ]

Gross National Happiness USA
http://www.gnhusa.org/
GNHUSA envisions a happy and ecologically sustainable future.
Measure what Matters.

NOTE:
This report (below) on social justice by the Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation in Germany isn't about poverty as such, but rather access to social justice (poverty prevention, education, health, etc.) in the countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. That may not be material poverty, but there is a strong correlation between this type of study and country ranking and one that looks strictly at income or wealth.
The study includes both Canada and the U.S.
[By Gilles]

-------------------------

Strong variations in Social Justice within the OECD
Bertelsmann Foundation publishes Social Justice Index for 31 OECD countries

News Item
October 27, 2011
Discrepancies in poverty prevention and fair access to education within the OECD are significant

US lags in all Areas of Social Justice
World's largest economy ranks 27th among 31 OECD nations

News Item
October 27, 2011

The United States may still lead the world in the size of its economy, but it performs poorly in a host of areas that make for a socially just country.
(...) Overall, the United States ranked 27th, ahead of only Greece, Chile, Mexico and Turkey.

The report:

Social Justice in the OECD — How Do the Member States Compare?
Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011
(PDF - 3.1MB, 56 pages)
Excerpt from "Key Findings" (page 6):
A cross-national comparison of social justice in the OECD shows considerable variation in the extent to which this principle is developed in these market-based democracies. According to the methodology applied in this study, Iceland and Norway are the most socially just countries. Turkey, which ranks among the bottom five in each of the six targeted dimensions, is the OECD’s least socially just country.
(...) Canada is the top performer among the non-European OECD states. Its high ranking can be attributed to strong results in the areas of education, labor market justice and social cohesion.

In this report, "social justice" includes:
* Poverty prevention
* Access to education
* Labor market inclusion
* Social cohesion and non-discrimination
* Health
* Intergenerational justice

Source:
Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation (Germany)
The Bertelsmann Stiftung is dedicated to serving the common good. Our work is based on the conviction that competition and civic engagement are essential for social progress.

---

The Canadian Perspective on this report
By Tracey Lauriault:

Data and public policy – OECD Social Justice Report
October 29, 2011
I am really interested in public policy issues such as social justice, health inequality and the environment and hope that open data and open government policies will lead to being able to access these types of data, especially at the neighbourhood scales. I hope that apps will open the door to access, but that eventually we will work toward comprehensive access to data for this type analysis and develop new ways to dialogue between citizen and government using data for evidence-based decision-making. (...) Apps rely on one or two datasets, these reports rely on hundreds. I want the hundreds, which requires a broader open data policy in Canada at all levels of government and I would go further to suggest that open data needs to move beyond the institutional boundaries of IT and CIO divisions and into thematic areas, as that is where data for these indicators are produced and owned.

Source:
datalibre.ca
datalibre.ca is a blog that's maintained mostly by Tracey Lauriault.
It's inspired by civicaccess.ca, which believes all levels of Canadian governments should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens.
Tracey is also responsible for the Census Watch page.

---

The American
(New York Times) Perspective on this report:

America’s Exploding Pipe Dream
By Charles M. Blow
October 28, 2011
We are slowly — and painfully — being forced to realize that we are no longer the America of our imaginations. Our greatness was not enshrined. Being a world leader is less about destiny than focused determination, and it is there that we have faltered. (...) We have not taken care of the least among us. We have allowed a revolting level of income inequality to develop. We have watched as millions of our fellow countrymen have fallen into poverty. And we have done a poor job of educating our children and now threaten to leave them a country that is a shell of its former self. We should be ashamed. Poor policies and poor choices have led to exceedingly poor outcomes. Our societal chickens have come home to roost. This was underscored in a report released on Thursday by the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation of Germany entitled Social Justice in the OECD — How Do the Member States Compare?” It analyzed some metrics of basic fairness and equality among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries and ranked America among the ones at the bottom.

[ 392 comments ]

Source:
New York Times

OECD launches new report on measuring well-being
12-Oct-2011
A new OECD report, How's Life, offers a comprehensive picture of what makes up people’s lives in 40 countries worldwide. This is part of the OECD’s ongoing effort to devise new measures for assessing well-being that go beyond GDP.

How's life? Measuring well-being
How's Life? is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, launched by the Organisation on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary. The OECD Better Life Initiative aims to promote "Better Policies for Better Lives", in line with the OECD's overarching mission. One of the other pillars of the OECD Better Life Initiative is the Your Better Life Index, an interactive composite index of well-being that aims at involving citizens in the debate on societal progress.

Your Better Life Index
How do you define a better life?
Use our interactive tool to see how your country performs on the topics you feel make for a better life

Source:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor
By Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield
September 13, 2011
The Census Bureau’s annual poverty report presents a misleading picture of poverty in the United States. Few of the 46.2 million people identified by the Census Bureau as being “in poverty” are what most Americans would consider poor—lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, or clothing. The typical “poor” American lives in an air-conditioned house or apartment and has cable TV, a car, multiple color TVs, a DVD player, and a VCR among other conveniences. (...) Congress should reorient the massive welfare state to promote self-sufficient prosperity rather than expanded dependence. As the recession ends, able-bodied recipients should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid.
Source:
Issues : Poverty and Inequality
[ The Heritage Foundation]
The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

---

How Rich Are Poor People?
The Census Bureau says there are more Americans in poverty than ever.
Are the poor better off today than they used to be?
By Brian Palmer
September 14, 2011
How many amenities do people below the poverty line tend to have?
More than 46 million Americans are now living below the poverty threshold, according to numbers released by the Census Bureau on Tuesday. That's the highest number since the Bureau started keeping track of the statistic in 1959. Are poor people better off now than they were 52 years ago?
Much better, in absolute material terms. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation recently published an analysis of the lifestyle of people below the poverty line in 21st-century America. He found that many poor people have amenities that were available only to the wealthy (if they existed at all) in 1959.
Source:
Slate Magazine

Counterpoint:

Study dismisses poverty, but try telling that to the poor
By Courtland Milloy
September 13, 2011
As the fortunes of middle-class Americans continue to dwindle, some might be wondering what it’s like to be poor. A study released this year by the Heritage Foundation argues that living in poverty isn’t as bad as most of us imagine. Indeed, from the way poverty is portrayed by the conservative think tank, you’d think that the average poor person was actually living large.
Source:
Washington Post

Conference on poverty reduction and poverty measurement
in Canada and the world:

Social Statistics, Poverty and Social Exclusion:
Perspectives from Quebec, Canada and Abroad

International conference
November 30 - December 2, 2011
Montreal
[Simultaneous translation in French and English.]

Version française du site:
Conférence internationale Statistiques sociales, exclusion sociale et pauvreté :
perspectives québécoises, canadiennes et internationales

30 novembre - 2 décembre 2011
Montréal

The main objective of this international conference is to take stock of the state of current research and identify knowledge gaps:
* How can poverty data be used to compare the situation in different industrialized nations?
* What are the scope and the limitations of such comparisons?
* How can we define the main dimensions and develop appropriate indicators of social exclusion?
* How can we develop process indicators that will allow us to recognize situations of exclusion?
* How can social statistics be used to study the influencing factors and the consequences of all dimensions of poverty?
* How can statistics be used to study the financial and social cost of poverty, material deprivation, the use of rights, life courses and solutions?
* How can we use statistics to build a score card that accounts for all those dimensions to evaluate the outcomes of the Act to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion?

Conference Themes
1: Interprovincial and International Comparisons of Poverty: indicators and data sources
2: Influencing Factors and Consequences of Poverty
3: Dimensions of Social Exclusion
4: Recent Developments and future perspectives

Preliminary program (PDF - 805K, 6 pages)

Register online - early bird special until October 21!

Organizing Institutions:
* Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics
* Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale

[U.S.]

Federal report shows drop in adolescent birth rate
Annual statistics compilation notes increases in 8th grade drug use, child poverty

Press Release
July 8, 2011
The adolescent birth rate declined for the second consecutive year, preterm births declined for the third consecutive year, adolescent injury deaths declined, and fewer 12th graders binge drank, according to the federal government's annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation's children and youth. However, a higher proportion of 8th graders used illicit drugs, more children were likely to live in poverty, and fewer children were likely to live with at least one parent working year round, full time, according to the report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 22 federal agencies that collect, analyze, and convey data on issues related to children and families. The report uses the most recently available major federal statistics on children and youth to measure family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.

America's Children : Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011
- main page of the report, includes the following table of contents:
* Introduction
* Demographic Background
* Family and Social Environment
* Economic Circumstances
* Health Care
* Physical Environment and Safety
* Behavior
* Education
* Health
* Special Feature: Adoption
* America's Children at a Glance
* Forum Agencies
* List of Tables
* List of Figures
* Data Source Descriptions
* PDF version of the complete report (5.3MB, 223 pages)

Source:
Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
The Forum is a working group of Federal agencies that collect, analyze, and report data on issues related to children and families. The Forum has partners from 22 Federal agencies as well as partners in private research organizations. America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being is the Forum's signature annual report.

---

- Go to the International Children, Families and Youth Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/chn2.htm



The Supplemental Poverty Measure


Links in this box are organized in reverse
chronological order, with the most recent additions at the top.

Trends in Poverty with an
Anchored Supplemental Poverty Measure
(PDF - 684K, 25 pages)
http://goo.gl/lZiCg5
By Christopher Wimer et al.
December 5, 2013

Excerpt from the Intro:
Poverty measures set a poverty line or threshold and then evaluate resources against that threshold. The official poverty measure is flawed on both counts: it uses thresholds that are outdated and are not adjusted appropriately for the needs of different types of individuals and households; and it uses an incomplete measure of resources which fails to take into account the full range of income and expenses that individuals and households have.

Excerpt from the Conclusion:
Government programs today are cutting poverty nearly in half (from 29% to 16%) while in 1967 they only cut poverty by about a one percentage point. Results are particularly striking for child poverty and deep child poverty. In 2012, government programs reduced both child poverty and deep child poverty by 11 percentage points. In 1967, by contrast government programs (through the tax system) actually increased child poverty rates, and reduced deep child poverty rates by only 4 percentage points.

Source:
Columbia University

http://www.columbia.edu/

---

Related link:

U.S. poverty rate decreased over past half-century thanks to safety-net programs : Study
http://goo.gl/l4yFj4
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
December 9, 2013
Government programs such as food stamps and unemployment insurance have made significant progress in easing the plight of the poor in the half-century since the launch of the war on poverty, according to a major new study [see above]. But the nation’s economy has made far less progress lifting people out of poverty without the need for government services.

The findings by a group of academic researchers at Columbia University paint a mixed picture of the United States nearly 50 years after Lyndon B. Johnson announced in his January 1964 State of the Union address [ http://goo.gl/aFgQ1 ] that he would wage a war on poverty. They also contradict the official poverty rate, which suggests there has been no decline in the percentage of Americans experiencing poverty since then.

Source:
Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2012
http://www.calendarwiz.com/calendars/popup.php?op=view&id=67992996&crd=cens1sample&
News Release
November 6, 2013
This is the third annual report* from the Census Bureau describing research on this measure, which complements, but does not replace, the official measure. The report compares U.S. 2012 supplemental poverty estimates with 2012 official poverty estimates for numerous demographic groups. In addition to the national-level statistics, the report presents supplemental poverty estimates for states using three-year averages (2010-2012). It also compares national 2011 supplemental poverty estimates with 2012 supplemental poverty estimates and examines the effect of excluding individual resource or expenditure elements.
---
* For links to the first two reports, go to:
http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/methodology/supplemental/research.html
---

Complete report:

The Research : Supplemental Poverty Measure : 2012
Current Population Reports
(PDF - 488K, 25 pages)
http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60-247.pdf
By Kathleen Short
Issued November 2013

What the heck is
a Supplemental Poverty Measure??

http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/methodology/supplemental/overview.html

Supplemental Poverty Measure Methodology
http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/methodology/supplemental/index.html

Source:
U.S. Census Bureau
http://www.census.gov/

Special issues of the Poverty Dispatch
dealing with the Supplemental Poverty Measure:

May 7, 2013
http://www.irp.wisc.edu/dispatch/2013/05/07/
Poverty Measurement in the US
Payday Lending
Men’s Employment Programs

October 3, 2012
Welfare-to-Work Program – South Carolina
Health Care, Income and Poverty Measurement

December 20, 2011:
http://www.irp.wisc.edu/dispatch/2011/12/20/
Poverty Measurement in the US

November 17, 2011:
Supplemental Poverty Measure
Census Data on Mobility
Immigrants and the Foster Care System

November 14, 2011:
Supplemental Poverty Measure

November 11, 2011:
Unemployment and Jobless Benefits
Supplemental Poverty Measure
Census Poverty Data

November 8, 2011:
Supplemental Poverty Measure

November 7, 2011:
Supplemental Poverty Measure
Wealth Gap by Age in the US
State Medicaid Cuts

Source:
Poverty Dispatch (U.S.)
http://www.irp.wisc.edu/dispatch
University of Wisconsin

Measuring Up: Aspirations for Economic Security in the 21st Century (PDF - 1.4MB, 108 pages)
http://www.insightcced.org/uploads/besa/Insight_MeasuringUp_FullReport_Web.pdf
Insight Center for Community Economic Development
April 2013
Contents:
1. Framework debates in the field: poverty, economic security, social inclusion and racial equity
2. Flaws of the federal poverty thresholds and guidelines
3. Alternative income measures:
--- measures describing poverty
--- measures describing economic security
4. . income and asset indices
5. Multi-dimensional indices
6. Next steps in advancing alternative metrics

A State-by-State Snapshot of Poverty Among Seniors:

From the
Census Bureau:

Census Bureau Releases 2011 New Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) Research Findings
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/poverty/cb12-215.html
November 14, 2012
The Census Bureau, with support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today released its second annual report, The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2011, describing research on a new supplemental poverty measure. This measure extends information provided by the official poverty measure, released Sept. 12, by explicitly including benefits from many of the government programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals.

Today's report compares 2011 supplemental poverty estimates to 2011 official poverty estimates for numerous demographic groups at the national level. In addition, for the first time, the report presents supplemental poverty estimates for states, using three-year averages. At the national level, the report also compares 2010 supplemental poverty estimates with 2011 estimates and examines the effect of excluding individual resource or expenditure elements.

According to the report, the supplemental poverty measure rate was 16.1 percent last year, which was higher than the official measure of 15.0 percent. Neither the supplemental measure nor the official poverty rate was significantly different from the corresponding rate in 2010.

Complete report:

The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2011 (812K, 32 pages)
http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p60-244.pdf
By Kathleen Short
November 2012
This report provides a third year of estimates of a new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) for the United States. (...) The results illustrate differences between the
official measure of poverty and a poverty measure that takes account of in-kind benefits received by families and nondiscretionary expenses that they must pay. The SPM also employs a new poverty threshold that is updated with information on expenses for food, clothing, shelter, and utilities. Results showed higher poverty rates using the SPM than the official measure for most groups. [Excerpt, p.21]

Previous edition of this report:

The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2010 (PDF - 876K, 24 pages)
http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/methodology/supplemental/research/Short_ResearchSPM2010.pdf

Latest releases from the Census Bureau
on the Supplemental Poverty Measure
http://www.census.gov/hhes/
- incl. links to another five recent releases concerning the SPM

Source:
Census Bureau
http://www.census.gov/

---

Related link:

[U.S.] The Power of the Safety Net: What the Supplemental Poverty Measure Shows
http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/ExclusiveCommentary.aspx?id=8dcf0e2f-ca41-4c0f-be8c-64f0b6a0862c
By Arloc Sherman
November 14, 2012
The safety net – both permanent provisions and recent expansions enacted to help respond to the recession – kicked in to fight rising poverty in recent years, and a new measure shows how much it accomplished. The Census Bureau today [see below] released data on a new poverty measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), that reveals a broader view of the safety net. Building on recommendations from a National Academy of Sciences panel in 1995, the SPM counts non-cash benefits and tax credits as income. The official poverty measure only counts cash benefits and other cash income. The SPM also subtracts taxes, child care and other work expenses, and out-of-pocket medical expenses from income and modestly revises the poverty line.

Source:
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action is a non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans.

Identifying the Disadvantaged: Official Poverty,
Consumption Poverty, and the New Supplemental Poverty Measure
(PDF - 640K, 26 pages)
http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.26.3.111
By Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan
(...) The broader literature on measuring poverty proposes a wide variety of approaches for identifying who is poor. Some approaches are multidimensional, emphasizing functional capabilities, social inclusion, relationships, the environment, and other components of well-being. In this article, we will focus on three single-dimensional resource-based poverty measures:
1. The official U.S. poverty rate;
2. The new Supplemental Poverty Measure (frst released by the U.S. Census Bureau in fall 2011): and
3. A consumption-based measure of poverty.

Source:
Journal of Economic Perspectives—Summer 2012 issue

http://www.aeaweb.org/issue.php?journal=JEP&volume=26&issue=3
- includes links to earlier issues of the journal

[ American Economic Association
http://www.aeaweb.org/index.php ]

[U.S.] A Clearer View of Poverty: How the Supplemental Poverty Measure
Changes Our Perceptions of Who is Living in Poverty

An Examination of Poverty by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Age, and Marital Status (PDF - 392K, 7 pages)
http://goo.gl/MvmD7
July 2012
In response to concerns about the adequacy of the official federal poverty measure, a new Supplemental Poverty Measure was recently developed to more accurately assess poverty. This fact sheet presents a rather different picture of poverty in the United States for the various demographic groups based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure and compares this new picture to the understanding of poverty based on the official measure, using data for the 2010 calendar year.

Source:
Institute for Women's Policy Research
http://www.iwpr.org/
The Institute for Women's Policy Research conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialogue, and strengthen families, communities, and societies.

U.S. Census Bureau Clarifies Poverty Numbers
http://goo.gl/bOUuV
By Sharon Bernstein
December 16, 2011
An experimental report said counting taxes and other expenses could make more people live on the poverty line, but officials stressed that it's not correct to say one out of two Americans are low income. Officials at the U.S. Census Bureau moved Friday to clarify widely reported figures meant to estimate the number of Americans living in poverty. Dueling Census reports (links below) – one based on official poverty estimates that was released just last week and another based on an experimental calculus used in November – differed from one another by 20 percent regarding the number of people viewed as living in poverty.

U.S. and California Census poverty estimates
[ http://media.nbclosangeles.com/documents/census+poverty+info+with+header+text.pdf ]

Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2010 (PDF - 1.2MB, 24 pages)
http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p60-241.pdf

Reading Between the Poverty Lines
By Teresa Tritch
November 19, 2011
A new and improved gauge of poverty, released this month by the Census Bureau, shows that 49.1 million Americans are poor, and that the ranks of those just above poverty are larger than previously believed. The middle class is under pressure, too, battered by stagnating incomes and unavoidable expenses like medical bills. The older, official poverty line is still used to determine eligibility for government benefits, but the new formula offers a broader view of life both in and out of poverty.
Source:
New York Times

From the
Census Bureau:

Supplemental Poverty Measure Research
November 7, 2011
The Census Bureau, with assistance from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and in consultation with other appropriate agencies and outside experts, introduces research on a new measure of poverty to complement the official measure, which has been in use since the 1960s. The official measure will continue to be produced every year and be used to assess eligibility for government programs and determine funding distribution. The supplemental poverty measure, on the other hand, is intended to better reflect contemporary social and economic realities and government policy effects and thus provide a further understanding of economic conditions and trends. This report presents estimates of the prevalence of poverty at the national level in 2010 -- overall and for selected demographic groups -- for both the official and supplemental measures.

The latest release:


The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2010
Consumer Income
(PDF - 673K, 24 pages)
November 2011
The current official poverty measure was developed in the early 1960s, and only a few minor changes have been implemented since it was first adopted in 1969. This measure consists of a set of thresholds for families of different sizes and compositions that are compared to before-tax cash income to determine a family’s poverty status. At the time they were developed, the official poverty thresholds represented the cost of a minimum diet multiplied by three (to allow for expenditures on other goods and services). Concerns about the adequacy of the official measure have increased during the past decade, culminating in a congressional appropriation in 1990 for an independent scientific study of the concepts, measurement methods, and information needs for a poverty measure. In response, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) established the Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance, which released its report titled Measuring Poverty: A New Approach in the spring of 1995. (...) In their report, the NAS panel identified several major weaknesses of the current poverty measure...
Source:
Census Bureau

[ Related presentation slides (Powerpoint presentation in PDF file) - 491K, 24 slides ]

Source:
Census Bureau

Background Materials:
* Information on Experimental Poverty Thresholds
* Overview of Supplemental Poverty Measure
* Working Papers on Experimental Poverty Measures

------------------------------------

Selected media coverage:

From the
Washington Post:

Census Bureau measures more Americans living in poverty
By Michael A. Fletcher
November 7, 2011
The Census Bureau on Monday released a new, comprehensive poverty measure that painted a more dismal picture of the nation’s economic landscape than the official measure from September. The report found that 49.1 million Americans — 16 percent of the population — lived in poverty in 2010, which is higher than the 46.2 million Americans found to live in poverty by the official measure released in September (Census Bureau link).
Source:
Washington Post

---

From the
New York Times:

Older, Suburban and Struggling, ‘Near Poor’ Startle the Census
November 18, 2011
By Jason deParle and others
November 18, 2011
WASHINGTON — They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by. Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called “near poor” and sometimes simply overlooked — and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood.

Friend With Benefits
By Charles M. Blow
November 11, 2011
Government is not the enemy. Not always.
Don’t believe that right-wing malarkey.
(...)We learned this week that not only are there more poor people in America than had been previously reported, but that the only thing keeping millions more out of poverty are the very same social safety net programs that many Republicans despise. For decades, experts on both sides of the poverty debate have complained that the official government measure is flawed because it doesn’t account for measures like benefits from government programs, health care costs or taxes. So, to address those concerns, the Census Bureau this week released a Supplemental Poverty Measure, or S.P.M. The new measure changed the composition of the poor but found that it was a larger group — the official 2010 poverty rate was 15.2 percent, but the S.P.M. rate was 16 percent. Even more important, the report highlighted the role government programs play in mitigating it. Many of these programs were expanded under the Obama administration with the much-maligned stimulus package. Now many of those expansions are scheduled to expire, and a new crop of callous Republicans threatens to not just trim the fat but to cut the meat.

Recommended reading --- includes links to over half a dozen recent articles and studies covering the following observations (among others):
* Earned Income Tax Credit - not included in the S.P.M.?
* almost all of the Republican presidential candidates’ economic plans would “cut back or eliminate refundable tax credits”
* the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program for food stamps keeps the poverty rate for children from jumping from to 21.2% (currently 18.2%)
* Obama’s stimulus package kept a jobs and poverty crisis from becoming a catastrophe but the administration’s is unable to effectively convey that point to the public.
* Gallup polls and commentary by and about Michele Bachmann, the Tax Policy Center, the lack of empathy for the poor and suffering on the part of the Republican presidential hopefuls is nothing short of breathtaking.
*
a recent Brookings Institution report said that after declining in the 1990s, the population in extreme-poverty neighborhoods — where at least 40 percent of individuals live below the poverty line — rose by one-third from 2000 to 2005-9.

New Way to Tally Poor Recasts View of Poverty
By Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff
November 7, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau on Monday released what it says is a more accurate measure of poverty in America. The new measure shows more poverty among the elderly, but less among children and African-Americans.
It also shows a slightly higher poverty rate for the nation last year — 16 percent compared with 15.2 percent under the official measure — but lower rates among groups who benefit from noncash government programs the official count leaves out, including food stamps and the earned-income tax credit.
Source:
New York Times

---

From the
San Francisco Chronicle:

US poverty at new high: 16 percent, or 49.1M
By Hope Yen
November 7, 2011
A record number of Americans - 49.1 million - are poor, based on a new census measure that for the first time takes into account rising medical costs and other expenses.

Seniors falling into poverty faster in new census measure
By Esmé E. Deprez
November 7, 2011
“More Americans, and a greater percentage of the elderly, were poor in 2010 than the U.S. Census Bureau estimated in September, new figures from the agency show.
Source:
San Francisco Chronicle

---

From PBS
(Public Broadcasting System):

Poverty's Changing Profile in the U.S.
November 7, 2011
The hard economic times of the last few years have been felt widely, but not uniformly. As we have often noted on Patchwork Nation, American communities that relied heavily on specific slices of the economy -- housing, manufacturing -- were particularly hard hit.
A new report from The Brookings Institution, The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty: Metropolitan Trends in the 2000s [link below], sheds light on what those differences mean in America's largest metro areas. And when you examine the numbers from that report using Patchwork Nation's 12 county types, some common themes emerge in how life is changing in urbanized and rural America.

Source:
PBS NewsHour
[ Patchwork Nation ]
[ Public Broadcasting System ]

---

More links to U.S. media coverage of
the Supplemental Poverty Measure
- links to eight articles about the poverty measure in the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, National Public Radio, Stateline.org and more
[From Poverty Dispatch at the University of Wisconsin-Madison]

---

The Brookings Institution report:

The Re-Emergence of Concentrated Poverty: Metropolitan Trends in the 2000s
- incl. a summary of trends and a link to the PDF version of the complete report.
November 3, 2011
As the first decade of the 2000s drew to a close, the two downturns that bookended the period, combined with slow job growth between, clearly took their toll on the nation’s less fortunate residents. Over a ten-year span, the country saw the poor population grow by 12.3 million, driving the total number of Americans in poverty to a historic high of 46.2 million.
Source:
The Brookings Institution

Bleak Portrait of Poverty Is Off the Mark, Experts Say
By Jason deParle and others
November 4, 2011
WASHINGTON - When the Census Bureau said in September [see Sept. 13, below] that the number of poor Americans had soared by 10 million to rates rarely seen in four decades, commentators called the report "shocking" and "bleak." Most poverty experts would add another description: "flawed." Concocted on the fly a half-century ago, the official poverty measure ignores ever more of what is happening to the poor person's wallet - good and bad. It overlooks hundreds of billions of dollars the needy receive in food stamps and other benefits and the similarly formidable amounts they lose to taxes and medical care. It even fails to note that rents are higher in places like Manhattan than they are in Mississippi.

On Monday, that may start to change when the Census Bureau releases a long-promised alternate measure [bolding added] meant to do a better job of counting the resources the needy have and the bills they have to pay. Similar measures, quietly published in the past, suggest among other things that safety-net programs have played a large and mostly overlooked role in restraining hardship: as much as half of the reported rise in poverty since 2006 disappears.
Source:
New York Times

Related links:

Links to the new measure will be posted on Monday, November 7 (2011), to one of the two following URLs:

U.S. Census Bureau : Poverty <=== includes "Latest Releases"
* Supplemental Poverty Measure - Latest Research - links to six reports and papers on the Supplemental Poverty Measure

From Spotlight on Poverty:

Census Bureau Announces Poverty Data Release;
Supplemental Poverty Measure on Hold

August 5, 2011
On August 1, the Census Bureau announced its schedule (see below) for releasing data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS). The CPS data includes 2010 income, poverty and health insurance estimates and will be released on Tuesday, September 13 – “Poverty Data Day” as it is often referred to in the advocacy community. The 2010 ACS data will be released on Thursday, September 22 and includes data for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, congressional districts, metropolitan areas and all communities with populations of 65,000 or more.

The Census Bureau will not be releasing official Supplemental Poverty Measure estimates this fall due to a failure to include SPM funding in the Fiscal Year 2011 federal budget. However, research will continue on the SPM; based on this work, preliminary or research SPM estimates will be released by the end of October.

Source:
Spotlight on Poverty
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action is a non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans.

From the
U.S. Census Bureau
:

Update on the Supplemental Poverty Measure
July 28, 2011
Since the FY 2011 federal budget did not include the funding requested by the President for the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) initiative, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics do not currently have the resources necessary to move the Supplemental Poverty Measure from research mode to production mode. Without these additional resources, the September 2011 release date for the Supplemental Poverty Measure estimates suggested in the Interagency Technical Working Group document is not feasible.

Census Bureau Sets Timetable for Income, Poverty and
Health Insurance Estimates and American Community Survey Results

August 1, 2011
Media Advisory about the CPS and ACS data releases

From CLASP (Center for Law and Social Policy):

A Step Ahead on Modern Poverty Measure
By Dorothy Smith
Revised January 2010
In the absence of a modern federal measure of poverty, a growing number of state poverty task forces are calling for federal action and have begun exploring alternative ways to more accurately measure income poverty. (...) This paper summarizes how poverty is currently measured and the actions Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Vermont and Virginia have taken toward a modern measure.

Measure by Measure: the Current
Poverty Measure v. the National Academy of Sciences Measures
(PDF - 687K, 11 pages)
November 2, 2009
This report highlights alternative poverty measures for each state and the District of Columbia using a Census tool that calculates alternative measures based on a National Academy of Sciences recommendation and an NAS recommendation that considers geographic price difference adjustment.

Source:
CLASP (Center for Law and Social Policy)
Since 1969, CLASP has been a trusted resource, a creative architect for systems change, and one of the country's most effective voices for low income people. We develop and advocate for federal, state and local policies to strengthen families and create pathways to education and work.

From the Census Bureau,
on the subject of poverty measurement:

Supplemental Poverty Measure Latest Research:
Papers prepared for the Allied Social Science Associations Annual Meeting
– Denver, CO
Society of Government Economists
January 8, 2011
Click the link above to access any of the papers below
(all dated December 2010 or January 2011):
* Developing Thresholds for the Supplemental Poverty Measure
* Medical Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Poverty, and the Uninsured
* Supplemental Poverty Measure: Geographic Adjustments from the American Community Survey
* Who is Poor? A New Look with the Supplemental Poverty Measure
* A Comparison of Child Support Paid from CPS and SIPP
* Estimating the Value of Federal Housing Assistance for the Supplemental Poverty Measure
* Research on Commuting Expenditures for the Supplemental Poverty Measure
* Unit of Analysis for Poverty Measurement: A Comparison of the Supplemental Poverty Measure and the Official Poverty Measure
Source:
Census Bureau

------------------------------------------

Related links from the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Experimental Poverty Measures
Since the mid-1990’s, research within the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has focused on the development of new poverty thresholds. These thresholds are based on a 1995 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report (Measuring Poverty: A New Approach, Citro and Michael 1995) and a 2010 Interagency Technical Working Group (ITWG) document with guidelines for Developing a Supplemental Poverty Measure (PDF - 150K, 8 pages).
NOTE: Click the Experimental Poverty Measures link above to access a collection of 30 research papers and conference presentations on various topics related to poverty measurement.


OOPS!
April 19, 2010

The new Supplemental Poverty Measure (the SPM, described below) was described in the April 18/10 issue of the Canadian Social Research Newsletter as an intrinsic part of the 2010 U.S. Census.
This was incorrect.
The SPM is distinct from the 2010 Census.

Read the words of the kind anonymous contributor
who set the record straight in an email earlier today:

"The U.S. Census Bureau’s new Supplemental Poverty Measure is completely separate from the U.S. 2010 Decennial Census. The 2010 Decennial Census (unlike earlier Decennial Censuses) does not contain any questions about income, so it cannot be used to measure poverty. The income data used to measure poverty according to both the current official poverty measure and the new Supplemental Poverty Measure will be taken from the Current Population Survey (and presumably also the American Community Survey); these surveys are separate from the Decennial Census."

[Thank you for this correction,
kind anonymous contributor...]
Gilles

Census [Bureau] to Redefine Poverty
By Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Doug Nelson , CEO, Annie E. Casey Foundations
March 12, 2010
With so many policy debates mired in partisan politics, the announcement last week by the U.S. Census Bureau that it plans to develop a supplemental poverty measure and then open it to public scrutiny is something both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.
Source:
Brookings Institution

Observations from the
Interagency Technical Working Group
on Developing a Supplemental Poverty Measure
(PDF - 138K, 8 pages)
March 2010
(...)The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) would not replace the official poverty measure. The Working Group has designed it as an experimental measure that defines thresholds and resources in a manner different from the official poverty measure. The SPM should be considered a work in progress, with the expectation that there will be improvements to it over time. (...) The official statistical poverty measure, as defined in OMB Statistical Policy Directive No. 14, will continue to be produced and updated every year. This is the statistical measure that is released annually in the fall and is sometimes identified in legislation regarding program eligibility and funding distribution.
Source:
Poverty resources page
[ U.S. Census Bureau]

Half in Ten: From Poverty to Prosperity
The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years

More than thirty-seven million Americans live below the official poverty line (which is now $21,203 for a family of four), and more than 13.3 million children are poor in this country. Inequality has reached record highs – it is greater than at any time since 1929. (...)

From
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
:

* The Measuring American Poverty Act

* Links to Federal Poverty Measurement Resources

* Poverty Measure Research

U.S. Plans New Measure for Poverty
By Sam Roberts
March 2, 2010
The federal government announced on Tuesday that it would begin producing an experimental measurement of poverty next year, a step toward the first overhaul of the formula since it was developed nearly a half-century ago by an obscure civil servant in the Social Security Administration. While the original definition — the cash income collected by a family or individual — will remain the official statistical measure for eligibility and distribution of federal assistance for the time being, “the new supplemental poverty measure will provide an alternative lens to understand poverty and measure the effects of antipoverty policies,” said Rebecca Blank, the under secretary of commerce for economic affairs
Source:
New York Times

New formula to give fresh look at U.S. poverty
By Amy Goldstein
March 3, 2010
The Obama administration Tuesday embraced an alternative way of defining what it means to be poor, stepping gingerly into a long-running debate over whether to revise the method that has been used to measure poverty for decades. Under a "Supplemental Poverty Measure" announced by the Commerce Department, the government is augmenting, but not replacing, the formula that determines how many people are considered to be in poverty, taking into account a wider range of expenses and income to try to create a truer portrait of which Americans are financially fragile
Source:
Washington Post

What Gets Measured Gets Done:
How a Supplemental Federal Poverty Measure Will Drive Smarter Policy

By Melissa Boteach, Jitinder Kohli
March 2, 2010
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” said New York City Mayor and business magnate Michael Bloomberg in 2007 describing the need for an updated poverty measure. How was the traditional federal poverty measure calculated?Now it seems he is getting his wish. The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that it will be developing an alternative way to measure poverty. This new method will better reflect the realities facing struggling families and ways in which current government programs can help them to get back on their feet. Unlike the traditional poverty measure, which is based in a 1960s reality, this supplemental measure will provide a more accurate accounting of household budgets and better determination of whether a family has enough resources to meet its most basic needs.
Source:
Center for American Progress

May 14:
Supplemental Poverty Measure

Poverty and Infectious Disease in the US
Foster Care Placements - Texas
State Budget and Programs for the Poor - Minnesota
Hybrid Welfare Eligibility System - Indiana
Source:
Poverty Dispatch

---

Observations from the Interagency Technical Working
Group on Developing a Supplemental Poverty Measure
(PDF - 138K, 8 pages)

---

Related links:


Measuring Poverty: A New Approach
(U.S.)

1995 - 536 pages

Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance: Concepts, Information Needs, and Measurement Methods

Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council

Read it Online
Source:
National Academy Press (NAP)

---

Changing the Federal Poverty Measure...or Not
By Diana M. Pearce*
March 4, 2010
Change in the outdated federal poverty measure is long overdue. Nevertheless, the Department of Commerce's announcement of a new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) should be greeted with caution. It will not change things nearly as much as its proponents hope, and may have some unexpected effects.

What the SPM will do, is rise as living standards rise, rather than fall further and further behind -- as is the case with the current poverty measure. Indeed, the latter is "frozen" at the level of a basket of goods and services adequate for families in the 1950s, updated only for inflation. It does not allow for rapidly increasing costs, such as health care and taxes or "new" costs such as child care.

What the SPM won't do is raise the thresholds very much. Because it only includes some costs -- housing, utilities, food and clothing -- it starts at not much above the current, much too low level. In fact, since it will also introduce geographic adjustments reflecting differences in housing costs, the SPM is likely to result in lowering thresholds in less expensive areas such as rural counties or the South below the current federal poverty measure. In short, the SPM is a measure of deprivation, not a full measure of what people and families need to meet their basic needs...
Source:
Huffington Post

* Author Diana Pierce is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Center for Women’s Welfare (School of Social Work) at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is also the developer of the Self-Sufficiency Standard], which "defines the amount of income necessary to meet basic needs (including taxes) without public subsidies (e.g., public housing, food stamps, Medicaid or child care) and without private/informal assistance (e.g., free babysitting by a relative or friend, food provided by churches or local food banks, or shared housing)."


Mollie Orshansky, Developer of the U.S. Poverty Thresholds
June 29, 2011

Mollie Orshansky:
Her Career, Achievements, and Publications

This new web page on the website of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (Health and Human Services) offers information on Mollie Orshansky’s career, her achievements, and her publications on the subject of the poverty population and poverty thresholds. The web page includes links to articles and conference presentations about Orshansky, a paper on the development and history of her poverty thresholds, and a chronological bibliography of her publications and Congressional testimony from 1947 to 1990.

On the last page of this August 2008 conference presentation (PDF - 68K, 8 pages) by Gordon Fisher, you'll even find a reference to Jenny Podoluk, the federal civil servant who developed the Canadian Low Income Cutoffs ("LICOs") at Statistics Canada in the 1960s, around the same time as Ms Orshansky was working on the American poverty thresholds. In this presentation, Mr. Fisher, who is now responsible for the preparation of the annual poverty guidelines for Health and Human Services, acknowledges the contributions to poverty measurement of both Orshansky and Podoluk, at a time when there weren't many women in senior government jobs on either side of the Canada- U.S. border.

Source:
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
[ Health and Human Services ]

From the
Organization for Economic

Co-operation and Development
:

Canadians can’t complain: Better Life Index
By Renata D'Aliesio
May 24, 2011
All in all, Canadians are a pretty comfortable and happy lot. The country ranks at or near the top in many of 11 well-being indicators in a new quality of life index, unveiled Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Only Australia topped Canada.

[ 195 comments ]

Source:
Globe and Mail

---

Related links from the
Organization for Economic

Co-operation and Development
:

Compendium of OECD Well-Being Indicators
This Compendium represents one of the first attempts to respond to the demand for comparative information on the conditions of people.s lives in developed market economies. Previous contributions in this field have focused on the conditions of poorer countries and on a more narrow range of dimensions (e.g. Human Development Index). This Compendium extends these efforts on both fronts.
It is a preview of the type of measures that will be included in the "How's life?" report to be released in October 2011.
The OECD plans to issue similar reports in the future on a recurrent basis, and to enrich the set of dimensions and indicators in the light of experience gained and of progress made in implementing better measures.

Download the Compendium in PDF format:

In one single file (1.5 MB)

Or by chapter:
Reader's guide
I. Introduction
II. Material Living Conditions
III. Quality of Life

OECD Better Life Index
This Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life. The list of topics comprises the following:
* Topics *
Housing * Income * Jobs * Community * Education * Environment * Governance * Health * Life Satisfaction * Safety * Work-Life Balance
Source:
Better Life Initiative (small PDF file)

So how's life in Canada, eh?
* Money cannot buy happiness, but it is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Canada, the average household earned 27 015 USD in 2008, more than the OECD average.
* Nearly 72% of people aged 15 to 64 in Canada have a paid job. People in Canada work 1699 hours a year, less than most in the OECD. 71% of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women are able to successfully balance family and career.
* 87% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, much higher than the OECD average.
* The average Canadian student scored 524 out of 600 in reading ability, higher than the OECD average.
* Life expectancy at birth in Canada is 80.7 years, more than one year above the OECD average.
* 78% of people in Canada said they were satisfied with their life, much higher than the OECD average of 59%.

Source:
Organization for Economic

Co-operation and Development

The New Demography of Poverty:
The Wisconsin Poverty Measure and
Effects of Federal and State Policies in Wisconsin

By Julia B. Isaacs, Timothy M. Smeeding et al.
Paper prepared for presentation at the
2011 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America
Washington, D.C.
March 31, 2011
March 31, 2011
Full Paper (PDF - 630K, 24 pages)
Abstract + links to related content
This paper describes efforts to develop a more comprehensive and up-to-date measure of poverty in Wisconsin as a model for other states to follow. The Wisconsin model uses American Community Survey data to measure the level, depth, and trends in poverty and the effects on poverty of such programs as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and refundable tax credits, as well as out-of-pocket health care costs and work-related expenses including child care. In many ways, the Wisconsin measure, which was unveiled in September 2010, is a preview of the forthcoming federal Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). However, the two measures differ in important respects. After a brief review of methodology underlying the Wisconsin measure, this paper focuses on a comparison of poverty across two vulnerable demographic subgroups, children and the elderly, and analyzes how specific federal and state policies affect low-income children and elderly in Wisconsin.
Source:
Brookings Institution

Related link:

Wisconsin Poverty Report:
New Measure, Broader View
(PDF - 1.5MB, 12 pages)
September 2010
Source:
Institute for Research on Public Policy

United States

Policy Affects Poverty: The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005-2009 (PDF - 842K, 148 pages)
March 2011
Source:
Center for Economic Opportunity (New York City)
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established by Mayor Bloomberg on December 18, 2006 to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. The CEO works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives aimed at poverty reduction, and manages an Innovation Fund through which it provides City agencies annual funding to implement such initiatives.

Related link:

Poverty Measure
- links to key research that examines how and whether the federal government should update the poverty measure. The resources below explore the state of the current measure, as well as alternative approaches to measuring poverty. This section also includes comparative studies that evaluate the current U.S. method with that of other industrialized nations.
Source:
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action is a non-partisan initiative that brings together diverse perspectives from the political, policy, advocacy and foundation communities to find genuine solutions to the economic hardship confronting millions of Americans

Poverty in Numbers: The Changing State of Global Poverty from 2005 to 2015
By Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz
January 2011
Poverty reduction lies at the core of the global development challenge. For the international development community, this objective serves not only as a source of motivation, but as a defining theme across its work. Many of the world’s most prominent aid organizations cite poverty reduction as their overarching goal. (...) How many poor people are there in the world, and how many are there likely to be in 2015? In which countries and regions is poverty falling? How is the composition of global poverty changing and where will poverty be concentrated in the future? These are central questions for which we currently have few, if any, answers. This policy brief attempts to fill this gap by providing a best approximation in response to each of these questions, before offering policy recommendations based on these findings.

Complete report (PDF - 2.3MB, 23 pages)
Executive Summary (PDF - 26K, 1 page)

Source:
The Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals:
1. Strengthen American democracy;
2. Foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans, and
3. Secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.

From the
Washington Post:

Census releases alternative formulas for gauging poverty
By Carol Morello
January 5, 2011
The Census Bureau took a baby step toward redefining what is considered poor in America on Tuesday when it released several alternative measurements of poverty, fundamentally revising a one-size-fits-all formula developed in the 1960s by a civil servant.Under a complex series of eight alternative measurements, the Census Bureau calculated that in 2009, the number of Americans living in poverty could have been as few as 39 million or as many as almost 53 million. Under the official calculation, the census estimated that about 44 million were subsisting on incomes below the poverty line of about $21,750 for a family of four. The alternatives generally set the poverty threshold higher, as much as $29,600 for a couple with two children.

From the
Census Bureau:

Census Bureau Releases Alternative Income and Poverty Estimates
News Release
January 6, 2011
The Census Bureau has released alternative income and poverty estimates covering calendar year 2009, including breakdowns by age, sex and race. These estimates do not revise or replace the official 2009 income and poverty estimates released Sept. 16, 2010. The official estimate of the national poverty rate remains at 14.3 percent. The Census Bureau has released alternative measures of poverty for many years based on the recommendations of Congress and the National Academy of Sciences. The purpose of these alternate measures is to show the effect on income and poverty measures when factoring in a range of poverty thresholds and different assumptions about income sources (such as subsidized housing or free or reduced-price school lunches).
Source:
Census Bureau

Related links - Census Bureau:

* Effect of Benefits and Taxes on Income and Poverty: Research and Development Tables
* National Academy of Sciences Poverty Measures (1995) - includes 2009 poverty thresholds using NAS recommendations

------------------------------------------

Also

Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index - "A place where happiness doesn't cost the earth..." (17-minute video)
Filmed July 2010; posted online August 2010
Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.
Two related links:
[ Happy Planet Index website ]
[ Happy Planet Index - from Wikipedia ]

Source:
TED : Ideas Worth Spreading
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. (...) On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 700 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
[ About TED ]

More Happy Planet Index links - this page takes you further down on the page you're now reading.

A framework to measure the progress of societies (PDF - 385KB, 26 pages)
July 2010
By J. Hall et al.
Source:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris
Summary : Over the last three decades, a number of frameworks have been developed to promote and measure well-being, quality of life, human development and sustainable development. Some frameworks use a conceptual approach while others employ a consultative approach, and different initiatives to measure progress will require different frameworks. The aim of this paper is to present a proposed framework for measuring the progress of societies, and to compare it with other progress frameworks that are currently in use around the world.

[UK] Multidimensional Poverty Index
OPHI and the UNDP Human Development Report launch the Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI – an innovative new measure that gives a vivid “multidimensional” picture of people living in poverty. The MPI will be featured in the 20th Anniversary edition of the UNDP Human Development Report and complements income by reflecting a range of deprivations that afflict a person’s life at the same time.
Source:
Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative
[ University of Oxford ]

Human Development Report 2010
20th Anniversary Edition
Scheduled for release in October 2010, the 20th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report examines decades of Human Development data trends, refines the original Human Development Index with new databases and methodologies, and introduces new measures adjusting the Index to reflect gender disparities and other internal national inequalities. The 2010 Human Development Report also features the Multidimensional Poverty Index, or MPI, which was developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with UNDP support. This new index is designed to provide a fuller, more accurate picture of acute poverty on the household level than traditional “dollar-a-day” formulas.
The MPI replaces the Human Poverty Index.

[ HDR 2010 Research Papers ]

Source:
United Nations Human Development Reports Home Page

Related link:

[U.K.] Poverty is about more than money:
The new Multidimensional Poverty Index
is an important tool for understanding the many savage ways of the beast

August 4, 2010
(...) How do we measure poverty? And how can our understanding of poverty enable more effective policies, building on the lived experiences of the poor? The recently published Multidimensional Poverty Index (the MPI developed in Oxford) takes an important new step in better understanding and measuring poverty and well-being. It understands that poverty is about people, and not numbers. And that there are various forms of suffering that people face: the MPI measures deprivation in terms of health, education and living standards.
Source:
The Guardian

More links to UK content (lower down on the page you're now reading)

Drawing the line at poverty
May 19, 2010
There are many ways to define poverty, but we shouldn't allow the debate to distract us from helping the poor
Source:
The Guardian (U.K.)

United States Census 2010 - Home Page
Census Day was April 1 in the U.S. - the day when all Americans were counted by the Census Bureau.
The last day to return completed Census 2010 questionnaires was April 16.

[ 2010 United States Census - from Wikipedia ]

---

Rethinking Poverty : Report on the World Social Situation 2010 - January 2010
Fifteen years ago, in Copenhagen, global leaders at the World Summit for Social Development described poverty eradication as an ethical, political and economic imperative, and identified it as one of the three pillars of social development. Poverty eradication has since become the overarching objective of development, as reflected in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, which set the target of halving global extreme poverty by 2015. Rethinking Poverty, the 2010 issue of the Report on the World Social Situation seeks to contribute to rethinking poverty and its eradication.

Complete report (PDF - 8MB, 203 pages)

Executive summary (PDF - 196K, 8 pages)

* Poverty: the official numbers * The poverty of poverty measurement * Deprivation, vulnerability and exclusion * Macroeconomic policies and poverty reduction * Economic liberalization and poverty reduction * Labour-market and social policies and poverty reduction * Poverty reduction programmes * Rethinking poverty reduction interventions

Source:
United Nations Department
of Economic and Social Affairs
- DESA
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs provides support services to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the principal body coordinating the economic and social work of the United Nations and its operational arms.

[ UN Economic and Social Council - ECOSOC
ECOSOC was established under the United Nations Charter as the principal organ to coordinate economic, social, and related work of the 14 UN specialized agencies, functional commissions and five regional commissions.]

Happy Planet Index (HPI)
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the leading global measure of sustainable well-being.
The HPI measures what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them. The Index uses global data on life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint to calculate this. The index is an efficiency measure, it ranks countries on how many long and happy lives they produce per unit of environmental input.

The Happy Planet Index : 2012 report
A Global Index of Sustainable Well-Being
(PDF - 2.5MB, 27 pages)
http://www.happyplanetindex.org/assets/happy-planet-index-report.pdf

HPI is a project of
nef (New Economics Foundation)
Based in the U.K., nef is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being.

Social Policy
nef aims to find ways of achieving sustainable social justice: a fair and equitable distribution of natural, social and economic resources between people, countries and generations.
Source:
nef programme areas
* Well-being * Democracy and Participation * Social Policy * Business, Finance and Economics * Valuing What Matters * Climate Change and Energy * Connected Economies * Natural Economies

---

Related links:

Is GDP An Obsolete Measure of Progress?
By Judith D. Schwartz
January 30, 2010
Since last summer the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has gone up — indeed, it grew at a surprising 5.7% rate in the 4th quarter — seeming to confirm what we've been hearing: the recession is officially over. But wait — foreclosure and unemployment rates remain high, and food banks are seeing record demand. Could it be that the GDP, that gold standard of economic data, might not be the best way to gauge a nation's relative prosperity?
(...)
One new calculation that's been attracting attention is the Happy Planet Index (HPI), which combines economic metrics with indicators of well-being, including subjective measures of life satisfaction, which have become quite sophisticated (HPI uses data from Gallup, World Values Survey, and Ecological Footprint). The HPI assesses social and economic well-being in the context of resources used, looking at the degree of human happiness generated per quantity of environment consumed.
Source:
Time Magazine (U.S.)

---

Happy Talk: The Economics of Happiness
By Carol Graham (Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy)
January 03, 2010
Last year was not a happy one. Economic crisis. Job losses. Wars. Yet, while we can quantify things such as gross domestic product or home foreclosures, it's harder to measure their impact on our collective happiness.
Source:
Brookings Institution

[ more Brookings links to articles
about Economics of Happiness
]

---

Report by the Commission on the
Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress
(PDF - 3.2MB, 292 pages)
By Joseph E. STIGLITZ, Amartya SEN and Jean-Paul FITOUSSI
September 2009
Source:
Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress
The Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress was created at the beginning of 2008 by the French government.

---

Similar initiatives in Canada
and elsewhere in the world:

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing - from Roy Romanow's Institute of Wellbeing

The Index of Economic Well-being - from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) - Canada

Indicators of Well-being in Canada - from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Genuine Progress Index (GPI) for Atlantic Canada

Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) Alberta ( from the Pembina Institute)

Genuine Progress Index (GPI) Pacific

2009 Prosperity Index - from the Legatum Institute

Gross National Happiness - from The Centre for Bhutan Studies

World Values Survey

 

NEW


United States

2013 Poverty Guidelines and Thresholds
(Health and Human Services - HHS)

United States

2013 HHS Poverty Guidelines:
One Version of the [U.S.] Federal Poverty Measure
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm
January 24, 2013
"The following figures are the 2013 HHS poverty guidelines which are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2013.
---

2013 HHS Poverty Guidelines:
January 24, 2013

# of Persons in Family --------- Poverty Guideline
1 ------------------------------------- $11,490
2 ------------------------------------- 15,510
3 ------------------------------------- 19,530
4 ------------------------------------- 23,550
5 ------------------------------------- 27,570
6 ------------------------------------- 31,590
7 ------------------------------------- 35,610
8 ------------------------------------- 39,630
+ $4,020 for each additional person
[
The HHS Poverty Guidelines are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.]

NOTE:

There are two slightly different versions of the federal poverty measure: the poverty thresholds and the poverty guidelines.

The poverty thresholds are the original version of the federal poverty measure. They are updated each year by the Census Bureau (although they were originally developed by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration).
[ http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/papers/hptgssiv.htm ]

The thresholds are used mainly for statistical purposes — for instance, preparing estimates of the number of Americans in poverty each year. (In other words, all official poverty population figures are calculated using the poverty thresholds, not the guidelines.)

The poverty guidelines are the other version of the federal poverty measure. They are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes — for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.

The poverty guidelines are sometimes loosely referred to as the “federal poverty level” (FPL), but that phrase is ambiguous and should be avoided, especially in situations (e.g., legislative or administrative) where precision is important.

Key differences between poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines are outlined in a table under Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
[ http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/faq.shtml#differences ]

See also the discussion of this topic on the Institute for Research on Poverty’s web site.
http://www.irp.wisc.edu/faqs/faq1.htm

Source:
Human Services Policy (HSP)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation ASPE)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

-------------------------------------------
COMMENT:
There's an important distinction between the Canadian and American government poverty measurement --- in the U.S., a person's or household's eligibility for certain programs [ http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/faq.shtml#programs ] is actually tied to an official federal government poverty measure. (However, eligibility for state welfare programs that fall under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families umbrella is means-tested and not related to any poverty measure.) In Canada, eligibility for all provincial and territorial welfare programs for individuals and families is "needs-tested". Needs-testing and means-testing mean the same thing in this context --- they both involve a test that takes into account a household's financial resources and its needs.
-------------------------------------------

Related Reading:
- highly recommended!

Further Resources on Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/contacts.shtml
Table of Contents:
- Introduction
- Background Paper on the Poverty Guidelines
- Programs That Do — and Don’t — Use the Poverty Guidelines
- The Official Federal Statistical Definition of Poverty
- Mollie Orshansky’s Development of the Poverty Thresholds
- Research on Alternative Approaches to Poverty Measurement
- Papers by ASPE Staff Relating to the History of Poverty Lines
- For Further Questions

The Development and History of the Poverty Thresholds
http://www.ssa.gov/history/fisheronpoverty.html
By Gordon M. Fisher
Social Security Bulletin
Volume 55, Number 4
1992

An International Prosperity Index

What Prosperity Means
By Ryan Streeter
October 27, 2009
"The Legatum Institute, where I am a senior fellow, just released the 2009 Prosperity Index, the world’s only global assessment of wealth and well-being. The Index is based on what most people would consider a fairly intuitive concept of prosperity—namely that “prospering” requires money, but ultimately much more than money. (...) The Prosperity Index builds a complex and sophisticated methodology on top of this basic and intuitive understanding of prosperity. The index ranks 104 countries covering 90 percent of the world’s population. The index consists of nine sub-indexes that are themselves comprised of 79 variables. It assesses how well nations around the world perform on economic fundamentals, innovation, government policy, health, social capital, and more. Its nine sub-indexes are based on reams of research into what makes economies grow and citizens happy."

2009 Prosperity Index - main page
- incl. links to:
* HOME * SUMMARY ( EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - KEY FINDINGS) * THE RANKINGS * COUNTRIES (COUNTRY PROFILES - COMPARE COUNTRIES) * THE REPORT * MEDIA CENTRE

[Spoiler : The Nordic countries are at the top of the list, Canada is seventh and the United States ninth.]

Executive summary

Country ranking : Canada

Legatum Institute
The Legatum Institute is an independent research, policy, and advocacy organisation that promotes political, economic and individual liberty in the developing and transitioning world. The Institute undertakes original and collaborative research, publishes scholarly literature and popular distillations, and cultivates a distinguished group of advisors and fellows. It develops innovative ways to disseminate its ideas and analyses, and to test and implement its findings.
Source:
The Enterprise Blog
[ The American, A Magazine of Ideas ]
[ American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEIPPR)
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, and social welfare. (...) The Institute's community of scholars is committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. ]

< Begin leftie disclaimer. >

Unlike the AEIPPR, I'm not "committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise."
I'm committed to social justice and fairness.
Libertarianism
only works for the rich.
You should read their work nonetheless.

< /End leftie disclaimer .>

May the GDP R.I.P.
Who needs Michael Moore when we’ve got Joseph Stiglitz?
By Renee Loth
October 2, 2009
The bad-boy director gleefully bashes Wall Street in “Capitalism: A Love Story,’’ his latest bit of agitprop, opening in Boston today. But the Nobel Prize-winning economist Stiglitz is taking aim at an even more fundamental tool of world capitalism: the gross domestic product. In a report prepared for the French government and circulated at the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh last week, Stiglitz and Harvard economist Amartya Sen said the GDP may have outlived its usefulness as a measure of national prosperity. “The time is ripe to shift the emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s well-being,’’ they wrote. Actually, the time is overripe.
Source:
Boston Globe Online

The Stiglitz-Sen report:

Report by the Commission on the
Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress
(PDF - 3.2MB, 292 pages)
Professor Joseph E. STIGLITZ, Chair, Columbia University
Professor Amartya SEN, Chair Adviser, Harvard University
Professor Jean-Paul FITOUSSI, Coordinator of the Commission, IEP
The Commission hopes that the Report will find a receptive audience among four distinct groups:
* Political leaders
* Policy-makers who wish to get a better sense of which indicators are available and useful to design, implement and assess policies aimed at improving well-being and foster social progress.
* The academic community, statisticians, and intensive users of statistics
* Civil society organisations that are both users and producers of statistics.
- incl. Canada references
Source:
Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress
The Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress was created at the beginning of 2008 by the French government. Increasing concerns have been raised since a long time about the adequacy of current measures of economic performance, in particular those based on GDP figures. The aim of the Commission is to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, to consider additional information required for the production of a more relevant picture, to discuss how to present this information in the most appropriate way, and to check the feasibility of measurement tools proposed by the Commission.

See also:

Survey of Existing Approaches to
Measuring Socia-Economic Progress
(PDF - 1.18MB, 58 pages)
June 2008
"(...)GDP shortcomings, as an index for measuring socio-economic progress, feature again prominently in the public debate, following years of benign neglect. Such criticisms are almost as old as the concept itself and national accountants have repeatedly warned about limitations of GDP as a welfare indicator."
- includes references to the Index of Economic Well-Being and the Personal Security Index* in Canada, among other alternative measures of well-being.
[* The latest Personal Security Index report that appears on the website of the Canadian Council on Social Development is for 2003.]

[ Commission Working Papers and Reports - links to 10 reports ]

More media coverage:

G20: Stiglitz and Sen Come In Too Late
Analysis by Julio Godoy
BERLIN, Sep 23, 2009
A new report on Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress presented earlier this month in Paris by Nobel prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen is a late, and quite modest contribution to an old debate, many experts say.
Source:
Inter Press Service News Agency

From the Center for Economic and Policy Research (Washington, D.C.):

New Method Needed to Assess What Working-Class Families Need to Make Ends Meet
Federal Poverty Measure Falls Short

News Release
December 22, 2008
Washington, D.C.- In an effort to address the shortcomings of the current federal poverty measure and inform efforts to expand the middle class, a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) evaluates current poverty metrics and suggests a new measure for a broader standard of basic income adequacy.

Complete report:

Measuring Poverty and Economic Inclusion:
The Current Poverty Measure, the NAS Alternative, and the
Case for a Truly New Approach
(PDF - 918K, 47 pages)
December 2008
By Shawn Fremstad
Summary:
This report examines the current U.S. poverty measure and finds that it has failed to keep up with public consensus on the minimum amount of income needed to “get along” in the United States in the 21st Century. The author then examines a potential approach to revising the measure, based on recommendations made by a National Academy of Sciences panel in 1995, that improves in some ways on the current measure, but has serious limitations of its own that require further research before it is adopted. Moreover, the NAS approach results in a poverty measure that would remain far below the public’s get-along level. This report concludes by suggesting a truly new approach that the incoming Administration should adopt- a “tiered” poverty and economic-inclusion measure that is modeled on the child poverty measure adopted in 2003 by the United Kingdom.

Source:
Center for Economic and Policy Research (Washington)
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives.


From the Center for American Progress:

It’s Time for a Better Poverty Measure
By Mark Greenberg
August 25, 2009
The federal poverty measure shapes our understanding of how many people are in poverty, who is in poverty, and how much poverty goes up or down when economic conditions and policies change. But the official measure is deeply flawed. The dollar figures used to determine if families are in poverty are low and in many ways arbitrary. The rules don’t consider some resources, such as tax credits and food stamps, and some key family expenses that determine a family’s available income. As a result, the poverty measure often doesn’t show the impacts of important policies that are intended to improve the economic well-being of families. It needs to be updated and improved.
[Mark Greenberg is Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy]
- recommended reading!

From an anonymous contributor:
In addition to summarizing the 1995 poverty measurement recommendations of the Panel appointed by the National Academy of Sciences, the paper includes a section on “Strengths, weaknesses, and issues in the NAS approach.” In addition to summarizing the Measuring American Poverty Act of 2009 (recently proposed legislation), the paper includes a brief section on “Evaluating the MAP [Measuring American Poverty] Act approach.”

The last two sentences of the paper read: “In many respects the best result would be [Obama A]dministration action [rather than Congressional action], so that the [new poverty] measure could be developed and continually refined without locking in the detailed rules contained in parts of the MAP Act. Still, the introduction of the MAP Act is an important step forward in showing how the administration or Congress can build on the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences and the subsequent learning and experience to develop a significantly better poverty measure and lay the groundwork for a Decent Living Standard.”
[The MAP Act would direct the National Academy of Sciences--presumably through an appointed panel--to develop and publish a method of calculating a Decent Living Standard threshold generally similar to basic needs budgets and the Self-Sufficiency Standard, and higher than the proposed new NAS-based poverty measure.]

---

Implications of a New Poverty Measure for Program Funding Formulas and Benefits Eligibility [dead link]
Prepared for the Brookings/Census Bureau Conference on Improved Poverty Measurement
By Mark Greenberg
August 25, 2009
Dozens of federal and state programs use the poverty measurement as part of the formula to determine who should receive services.
(...) In any effort to develop an improved poverty measure for the United States, questions arise to how a new measure might affect allocation of federal funds to states and localities, and eligibility for and benefit amounts under federal means-tested programs. The recently filed Measuring American Poverty (MAP) Act, H. R. 2909 directs the adoption of a “modern” poverty measure drawing from recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source:
Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.

‘Poverty threshold’ update sought
By Sarah Chacko
August 11, 2009
“Members of the U.S. Congress are seeking to update the federal ‘poverty threshold’ and measure figures that determine at what income level a household is considered poor. Backers say the change will more accurately define poverty in America and show that the current measure underestimates the problem. Opponents say the change is an attempt to raise support for wasteful spending on social services. The ‘poverty threshold’ - the line by which people’s incomes are measured to determine their economic status - is what the federal government uses to determine who receives how much in services…”
Source:
Baton Rouge Advocate


The 2008 U.S. Presidential Election and American poverty measures

----------------------------------------------

Obama Endorses Calls for New Federal Poverty Measure [dead link]
By David Nather
July 18, 2008
Here’s a development that could have significant implications if Barack Obama wins the presidency: He has endorsed the idea of updating the federal measure of poverty, a proposal that is slowly gaining some traction after years of being confined to quiet talk among poverty experts. (...)

The method of calculating the federal poverty line has been a back-burner issue for years among poverty experts because it hasn’t been updated since the 1960s. At that time, food cost a third of a typical family’s budget, which isn’t true anymore — it’s only about one seventh of a typical family’s costs now. At the same time, though, housing and work-related costs have become much more expensive than they were when the poverty guidelines were drawn up.

So the use of the outdated poverty measure, according to experts who testified at McDermott’s hearing yesterday, has had the paradoxical effect of underestimating a modern family’s expenses while also underestimating the amount of help they get from antipoverty programs like food stamps, housing assistance and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Source:
Beyond the Dome (blog) [dead link]

Related links:
(dead links have been removed - try doing a Google search on the article title below.)

Advocates Call for Updating of Federal Poverty Measure
July 21, 2008
Anti-poverty advocates urged lawmakers to establish a new federal poverty measure at a House Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support hearing on July 17, citing a broad consensus that the current measure, crafted in the 1960s, was significantly outdated.
Source:
CivilRights.org

The Measuring American Poverty Act : A Draft Proposal
By Representative Jim McDermott
(PDF - 85K, 16 pages)
- includes some contextual information and the full text of the bill that would change the way poverty is measured in the U.S.

Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support
Hearing on Establishing a Modern Poverty Measure
July 17, 2008
NOTE: click on the link above and then select the name of one the witnesses (panel experts) to read that person's submission.
Witnesses:
Rebecca Blank (The Brookings Institution)
Sheldon Danziger (Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan)
Douglas W. Nelson (Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore)
Mark Levitan (Director of Poverty Research, NYC Center for Economic Opportunity)
Bruce D. Meyer (Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago)
Source:
Committee on Ways and Means
[ U.S. House of Representatives ]

 


[U.S.] Poor Measurement Series (undated, circa Feb/March 2009*)
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity is pleased to announce a series of commentaries entitled “Poor Measurement” to discuss this issue. Spotlight brings together experts, advocates and policy makers to address how and why to update the federal poverty measure. The three links below are from this series.
---
* <Private rant: Why do so many governments and non-governmental organizations keep omitting the date of their reports on their dang websites??ARGH.>

(1)

Measuring Poverty in New York City
By Mark Levitan, Ph.D., Director of Poverty Research, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity
How a Local Effort Demonstrates the Need for a New National Standard

(2)

A Truly New Approach to Measuring Economic Inclusion
By Shawn Fremstad, Director of the Bridging the Gaps project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research
- Why and How We Should Change the Current Poverty Measure

(3)

Revisiting the Federal Poverty Measure*
By Rebecca M. Blank, Robert S. Kerr and Mark Greenberg
The federal government bases its poverty measure on a formula that was established in the 1960s and has not been updated since. Many experts and elected officials alike have made repeated calls for the measure to be changed, especially in light of a changed economy that has altered substantially in the nearly half-century that has passed since the federal poverty measure was first set.
---

* For a fuller exposition of the themes in the above piece, please see:
Improving the Measurement of Poverty (PDF - 835K, 39 pages)
December 2008
By Rebecca M. Blank and Mark H. Greenberg
"(...) The authors recommend the adoption of a new poverty measure, along the lines recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in order to provide a more accurate measure of economic need in the United States. The current poverty measure relies on 1955 data and a methodology developed in the early 1960s. The current measure is not sensitive to changes in tax policy, in-kind benefits, work expenses, or medical payments; all of these have changed substantially over the years and affect the well-being of low-income families."
***
Rebecca M. Blank is the Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a member of the Spotlight Advisory Council and served on the Council of Economic Advisers from 1997-1999. She was also a member of the 1995 National Academy of Sciences panel referenced in this piece.
Mark H. Greenberg is Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, a member of the Spotlight Advisory Council and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.
***
Source:
Brookings Institution

---

[ More commentary from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity <=== links to over two dozen poverty-related commentaries]

Source of the
Poor Measurement Series:
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity
Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity is a foundation-led, non-partisan initiative aimed at ensuring that our political leaders take significant actions to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in the United States.



From an anonymous contributor:
(Fall 2007)
[content updated April 19, 2008]

Ever since the Democrats took over the U.S. Congress in January of this year (after their November election victories), the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives has been holding a number of hearings on issues in its areas of responsibility. Some of these hearings have been held before the full committee, while others have been held before subcommittees.

For a regularly-updated list of these hearings, see
http://waysandmeans.house.gov/calendar/

Some of these hearings have been on topics relating to (U.S.) poverty and social welfare policy.
For example, click the link above to access any of the following hearings (and many more):

(4-15-2008) Hearing on the Instability of Health Coverage in America Health
(4-10-2008) Hearing on Extending Unemployment Insurance Income Security and Family Support
(2-28-2008) Hearing on Medicare Advantage Health
(1-16-2008) Hearing on Social Security Benefits for Economically Vulnerable Beneficiaries Social Security
(11-14-2007) Hearing on Impact of Gaps in Health Coverage on Income Security Income Security and Family Support
(9-19-2007) Hearing on Modernizing Unemployment Insurance to Reduce Barriers for Jobless Workers
(9-6-2007) Hearing on Fair and Equitable Tax Policy for America’s Working Families.
(8-1-2007) Hearing on Measuring Poverty in America, and
(4-26-2007) Hearing on Proposals for Reducing Poverty
(3-15-2007) Hearing on Increasing Economic Security for American Workers
(3-6-2007) Hearing on Recent Changes to Programs Assisting Low-Income Families
(2-13-2007) Hearing on Economic Opportunity and Poverty in America
(1-31-2007) Hearing on Economic Challenges Facing Middle Class Families
(1-24-2007) Hearing on the Economic and Societal Costs of Poverty

The August 1/07 hearing on Measuring Poverty in America should be of particular interest to people doing international research on poverty measurement. The subcommittee chairman’s statement announcing the hearing provides an overview of the hearing. Five witnesses provided testimony. In terms of providing a review or overview of the present state of poverty measurement in the U.S., perhaps the best single statement is that by Mark Greenberg , although several of the others are also good.

Source:
Committee on Ways and Means
[ U.S. House of Representatives ]

From the
New York City
Center for Economic Opportunity

New York City is the first city or state to adopt a version of
the alternative poverty measure proposed by the National Academy of Sciences in 1995
.

The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005 - 2011 (PDF - 3.2MB, 109 pages)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/downloads/pdf/ceo_poverty_measure_2005_2011.pdf
An Annual Report by the New York City
Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/
April 2013
The NYC Center for Economic Opportunity's annual report on poverty, "The CEO Poverty Measure, 2005 – 2011," reflects a turning point for the New York City economy. The proportion of working age New Yorkers holding a job rose and the recession-related fall in annual earnings was stopped. Stabilized earnings, expanded tax initiatives and increased enrollment in nutritional assistance programs left the 2011 CEO poverty rate statistically unchanged from 2010, highlighting the importance of both an improving economy and the social safety net.

---

The CEO Poverty Measure:
A Working Paper by The New York City
Center for Economic Opportunity
(PDF - 971K, 42 pages)
August 2008
Excerpts:
"... Despite a long-held consensus among policy experts about how to make it more meaningful, America measures poverty in 2008 just at it did in 1969 when the current measure was officially adopted.
... This study responds to a recommendation made by the Commission for Economic Opportunity, a task force convened by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006. The Commission members were asked to develop new ideas for addressing poverty. In the course of their work they came to realize that the current poverty measure was a poor gauge of either the degree of economic deprivation in the City or the impact of programs intended to alleviate it. The Commission members recommended that, in addition to new programs to combat poverty, the City should develop a better method to count the poor.
(...) Nearly forty years have passed since [the current] poverty measure became the official methodology for the Federal government’s statistical agencies. It is now an anachronism.

Source:
New York City
Center for Economic Opportunity

The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006 to identify and implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. The CEO works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives, including strategies and programs, aimed at poverty reduction.

Related link:

Commission for Economic Opportunity
- March 2006 article in the Gotham Gazette provides a short blurb about the work of the Commission and a profile of each of the 32 civic leaders involved.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK CITY MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES
NEW ALTERNATIVE TO FEDERAL POVERTY MEASURE
First Government Ever to Reformulate Faulty 40-Year Old Federal Poverty Measure
New York City to Share New Model With Other Cities Throughout the United States
News Release
July 13, 2008
Source:
New York City website

Related link:

Center for Economic Opportunity
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006 to identify and implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. The CEO works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives, including strategies and programs, aimed at poverty reduction.

First Strategy and Implementation Report
In December 2007, the Center for Economic Opportunity released its first Strategy and Implementation Report. This report describes CEO’s anti-poverty agenda and its first year of operation. In 2007, CEO launched 31 innovative, new anti-poverty efforts. The report describes CEO’s commitment to implement and evaluate new approaches to poverty reduction among the working poor, young adults, and children under five. Program descriptions are also included in the appendices.
Executive Summary (PDF - 2.3MB, 12 pages)
Complete report
(PDF - 25.5MB, 153 pages)

Bloomberg Seeks New Way to Decide Who Is Poor
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said last week that 31 antipoverty programs were up and running and dozens more were to come

By Leslie Kaufman
December 30, 2007
The Bloomberg administration, frustrated by the federal government’s Great Society method of determining who is poor, is developing its own measure, which city officials say will offer a more modern and accurate picture of poverty. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg wants to adopt the new measure in part so he can better assess whether the tens of millions of dollars the city plans to spend on new anti-poverty programs will improve poor people’s standard of living.
Source:
The New York Times

New York City to Lead Country in Remaking Poverty Gauge [dead link]
Most antipoverty workers think the dated federal poverty measure
creates almost as many problems as it solves. The city is moving forward to implement a new one.
November 19, 2007
New York City is changing the way it measures poverty among its residents. By the middle of next year, the city will replace the federal poverty measure—which has been used for almost 40 years—with new guidelines it is developing to get a better picture of who is living in poverty and how city initiatives affect those residents. The city’s efforts are a prominent example of the move toward formulating alternative measures of poverty, both locally and nationally. Public officials and service providers are growing more and more frustrated that the federal poverty measure no longer accurately relates to the lives of low-income families. (...) This August, a Congressional hearing on this very issue yielded a strong consensus that the federal measure is broken and must be fixed. As a result, the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support of the House Committee on Ways and Means is considering introducing a bill “to get the discussion going” as early as next year, said subcommittee staff director Nick Gwyn. In New York state, Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s relatively new Economic Security Cabinet has shown interest in adopting some form of alternative measure as well.
Source:
City Limits
(online news service providing "in-depth reports and workable policy solutions on the critical issues facing our cities." [notably New York])

NYC’s alternative measure is based on recommendations made by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1995.
* See Measuring Poverty: A New Approach - the complete 1995 NAS report
* See the 1995 NAS report recommendations

----------------------------------------


An Overview of Recent Work on Standard Budgets
in the United States and Other Anglophone Countries

January 2007
By Gordon M. Fisher
- includes 30+ links to related reference materials available online!

HTML version
PDF version
- 136K, 33 pages
Since about 1990, there have been resurgences of interest in the U.S., Canada, Britain, and Australia in the “standard budget” (“budget standards”) methodology for developing poverty lines or other measures of income inadequacy--a methodology that had previously experienced a long period of unpopularity ever since about World War II. This paper provides an overview of much of the major recent work using this methodology in these four countries (plus one study in New Zealand and one study in Ireland)
Source:
Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement
[ Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation - ASPE ]
[ U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HSS) ]

Related links:

[ASPE] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to Poverty Guidelines and Poverty
February, 2007

[ASPE] Further Resources on Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History

U.S. Census Bureau - Poverty Home Page

U.S. Census Bureau - History of the Poverty Measure

----------------------------------------


Remembering Mollie Orshansky—The Developer of the [U.S.] Poverty Thresholds
by Gordon M. Fisher
December 2008
HTML version
PDF version
(289K, 5 pages)
In a federal government career that lasted more than four decades, Mollie Orshansky worked for the Children's Bureau, the Department of Agriculture, the Social Security Administration, and other agencies. While working at the Social Security Administration during the 1960s, she developed the poverty thresholds that became the federal government's official statistical measure of poverty; her thresholds remain a major feature of the architecture of American social policy and are widely known internationally.
Source:
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 3, 2008
[ earlier issues of the Social Security Bulletin ]
[ Social security Online - The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration ]

---

Mollie Orshansky: Author of the Poverty Thresholds (PDF - 306K, 4 pages)
By Gordon Fisher
September 2008
"(...) Of the contributions to American public policy that Orshansky made during her career, the greatest by far was her development of the poverty thresholds. The poverty line has become a major feature of the architecture of American social policy. Although the measure may have its shortcomings, the poverty line gives us a means of identifying and analyzing the makeup of the groups in our society with the least resources."
Source:
Amstat News
[ American Statistical Association ]

---

Mollie Orshansky, Statistician, Dies at 91
April 17, 2007
[NOTE : this link is dead - expired. I decided to leave the short bit of text in here for info...]

"Mollie Orshansky, a statistician and economist with the U.S. Social Security Administration who in the 1960s developed the federal poverty line, a measurement that shaped decades of social policy and welfare programs, died Dec. 18 at her home in Manhattan, a family member said yesterday. (...) She used the economy food plan — the cheapest of four “nutritionally adequate” food plans developed by the Department of Agriculture — and multiplied the dollar costs by roughly three to come up with a minimum cost-of-living estimate. (...) Miss Orshansky devised more than 120 poverty thresholds, adjusting her calculations for family size and composition and rural-urban differences. She published her research in a seminal 1965 article in The Social Security Bulletin.

NOTE: Mollie Orshansky intended her work on American poverty thresholds to be used "as a research tool, not an instrument of policy or a criterion for determining eligibility for anti-poverty programs”. Similarly, in Canada, the Chief Statistician (the boss at Statistics Canada) has always maintained that StatCan's Low Income Cutoffs ("LICOs") don't constitute a viable measure of poverty in Canada. Nonetheless, the advocacy and social justice communities use LICOs as a measure of poverty, a yardstick against which to see how well government social programs are doing. The big difference in the U.S. of A. is that the poverty line numbers are actually used to establish eligibility for a number of social programs.

Related links:

* Mollie Orshansky Biographical notes - from Social Security Online
* Mollie Orshansky - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

* The Development and History of the U.S. Poverty Thresholds — A Brief Overview
(1997)
* What programs use the poverty guidelines?
* Further Resources on Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History
* U.S. Poverty Guidelines, Research and Measurement

Of special interest to historians:

Selected Articles and Papers by Mollie Orshansky
about the Poverty Thresholds and the Poverty Population

- this page includes citations for a number of Mollie Orshansky’s important articles AND a link to an on-line version of Technical Paper I (PDF file - 22MB, 364 pages), which contains the full text of a number of the articles that you'll find in the citations.
[HINT: check the Enhanced Table of Contents for Technical Paper I (PDF file - 15K, 2 pages), a small file that opens quickly, to see if you really really want to download the monster technical paper. Even with an office or cable connection, the complete technical paper is humongous. But if you want some historical perspective on the measurement of poverty in the U.S, the download is well worth the wait - it contains two dozen articles (many by Mollie herself) and many statistical tables on poverty in America in the 1960s.
Recommended reading! (but murder on a dialup connection...)

AND

The Measure of Poverty:
A Report to Congress as Mandated by
The Education Amendments of 1974
(PDF file - 7.3MB, 179 pages)
April 1976

[ BACK to the top of this page ]

----------------------------------------

Centre for the Study of Living Standards (CSLS) - Canada
"The Centre for the Study of Living Standards is a non-profit, national, independent organization that seeks to contribute to a better understanding of trends in and determinants of productivity, living standards and economic and
social well-being through research."

Index of Economic Well-being
Has economic well-being increased or decreased in recent years, and is it higher or lower in one country compared to others? Traditionally these questions have been answered by looking at trends in and comparisons of GDP per capita, but this is a poor measure of economic well-being. It measures consumption incompletely, ignoring the value of leisure and longer life spans, and it also ignores the value of accumulation for future generations. Furthermore, since it is an average, GDP per capita gives no indication of the likelihood that an individual will share in prosperity nor of the degree of anxiety with which individuals contemplate their futures."
- incl. links to:
Introduction and Methodology - The Index for Canada -The Index for Canada and the United States - The Index for Canada and the Provinces - The Index for OECD Countries - An Index of Labour Market Well-being - Weighting tool for Canada and OECD Countries

----------------------------------------

Poverty Guidelines, Research and Measurement

- incl. links to info in the following areas:

Poverty Guidelines - current and earlier HHS Poverty Guidelines

Poverty Guidelines and Poverty Measurement - Federal Register References, Further Resources on Poverty Measurement, Poverty Guidelines and their History, the Census Bureau's Poverty Home Page and Frequently Asked Questions on the Poverty Guidelines and Poverty

Poverty Research Centers - ASPE provides or has provided support to the following to conduct and report on research related to poverty:
[NOTE: each of the links below takes you to a new website with tons of reports and online resources]
* The National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan
* The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
* The Kentucky Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky
* The West Coast Poverty Research Center at the University of Washington
* The Joint Center for Poverty Research of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago
* The RUPRI Rural Poverty Research Center at the University of Missouri
[ Census Bureau - the federal agency that prepares statistics on the number of people in poverty in the United States. ]

Sample report:

How to Improve Poverty Measurement in the United States (280K, 45 pages)
November 2007
By Rebecca Blank
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan and Brookings Institution
Presidential Address to the Association for Public
Policy Analysis and Management at their annual conference, November 8-10, 2007
"(..)We need to escape the argumentative box we have been in for several decades and assign responsibility for calculating a Revised Poverty Measure to an agency prepared to take on such a task. At the same time, we need to recognize the inherent limitations in any measure of income poverty. We should catch up with our European cousins and, like them, work to develop multiple measures of economic deprivation."(Conclusion)
Source:
National Poverty Center Working Paper Series <<<=== incl. links to 200+ working papers going back to 2003!
[ National Poverty Center - University of Michigan]

NOTE:
For links to other American government social research,
go to the Links to American Government Social Research Links page: http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/us.htm


The Evolution of Poverty Measurement
- with special reference to Canada
(PDF file - 811K, 149 pages)
February 9, 2007
[Second Draft - Please check with the author for the most recent version]
This essay discusses the evolution of the measurement of poverty over the last thirty years and its links to the evolving debates on human rights and social exclusion – with special reference to the Canadian debate
Source:
Lars Osberg
Economics Department
Dalhousie University
CV/Publications by Lars Osberg - 175+ links articles, book chapters, etc.

Inequality and Health Care
Two fixes for middle-class insecurity
- U.S.
Editorial
December 13, 2006
"The rise of inequality over the past generation calls for a rethinking of tax and education policies, as earlier editorials* in this series have said. But it also calls for reform of the health system. Because of a historical accident -- wage controls during World War II drove employers to compensate workers with perks such as medical insurance -- the health system is tied to corporations. This exacerbates inequality..."

*earlier editorials - this editorial is the eighth in an occasional series on inequality; this "earlier editorials" link will take you to the seven previous editorials in this series.

Source:
The Washington Post



Poverty Measurement Studies and Alternative Measures

- includes links to the 1976 Measure of Poverty report, the 1985 Williamsburg Conference and Technical Papers 51-58, the 1995 National Academy of Sciences report and related reports and papers, and the 2005 American Enterprise Institute seminar series

Links to Related Sites
Find other agencies or organizations which provide Poverty Measurement Research

- Poverty Measurement Working Papers
- incl. links to papers and reports organized under the following themes:
* Measuring Poverty - Background and Overview * Who are the Poor? Using Different Measures * Poverty Thresholds * Medical Care * Housing Costs * Work-related Expenses and Child Care * Taxes and Unit of Analysis * Other Approaches to Measuring Economic Well-being

Sample papers:

A Decade of Experimental Poverty Thresholds 1990 to 2000 (PDF file - 383K, 32 pages)
(Kathleen Short and Thesia I. Garner, June 2002)

The Development of the Orshansky Poverty Thresholds and Their Subsequent History as the official U.S. Poverty Measure
 (May 1992--revised September 1997)

From Hunter to Orshansky:  An overview of (Unofficial) Poverty Lines in the United States from 1904 to 1965
(October 1993--revised August 1997)

Is There Such a Thing as an Absolute Poverty Line Over Time?
Evidence from the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia on the Income Elasticity of the Poverty Line

August 1995
by Gordon M. Fisher
This paper assembles an extensive body of evidence from the four countries named showing that successive poverty lines developed as absolute poverty lines show a pattern of getting higher in real terms as the real income of the general population rises. (This phenomenon has been termed "the income elasticity of the poverty line.") In the U.S., this evidence includes "expert"-devised minimum budgets prepared over six decades; "subjective" low-income figures in the form of national responses to a Gallup Poll question over four decades; and the recorded common knowledge of experts on poverty lines and family budgets from about 1900 to 1970. Similar although somewhat less extensive evidence is available from the other three countries.
[Summary]

Dynamics of economic well-being : Poverty 1996-1999 (PDF file - 75K, 12 pages) - U.S.
July 2003
Washington
Current population reports, n° P70-91
"This report describes patterns of poverty using measures with different time horizons and provides a dynamic view of the duration of poverty spells and the frequency of transitions into and out of poverty. It further examines how poverty dynamics vary across demographic groups. Data for this analysis were collected in the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP),the latest completed panel of the SIPP, and reflect the dynamics of poverty from January 1996 to December 1999."

The Changing Shape of the Nation's Income Distribution, 1947-98
Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?
Issued June 2000

- click above for links to text, figures and tables

Complete report (PDF file - 227K, 11 pages)

 

Census Bureau Poverty Page
- includes links to : * Poverty Home * Overview *What's new * Publications * Definitions * Poverty Thresholds * Poverty Data Sources * Current Poverty Data * Microdata Access * Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates * History of the Poverty Measure * Poverty Measurement Studies and Alternative Measures * Related Sites * FAQ

Poverty Measurement Studies and Alternative Measures
- includes links to the 1976 Measure of Poverty report, the 1985 Williamsburg Conference and Technical Papers 51-58, the 1995 National Academy of Sciences report and related reports and papers, and the 2005 American Enterprise Institute seminar series.

* Exploring the Use of the Views of the Public to Set
Income Poverty Thresholds and Adjust Them Over Time
(PDF - 387K, 77 pages)
By Denton R. Vaughan
February 2004 (updated from June 1993)
Beginning in 1946 (more than two decades before Dutch economists began developing “subjective” poverty measures), the Gallup Poll in the U.S. repeatedly asked the following question: “What is the smallest amount of money a family of four (husband, wife, and two children) needs each week to get along in this community?” (Similar questions have been asked in Gallup Polls in Canada and Australia.) This paper by Vaughan is the most up-to-date and thorough analysis of the results of this “get-along” question. The paper uses the U.S. Gallup “get-along” responses for the period 1947-1989 plus the response to a 1989 Gallup “poverty line” question to construct a “Gallup-based” poverty line series for a four-person family for the 1947-1989 period.

* Personal Assessments of Minimum Income and Expenses:
What Do They Tell Us about ‘Minimum Living’ Thresholds and Equivalence Scales?
(PDF - 1.1MB, 69 pages)
By Thesia I. Garner and Kathleen S. Short
July 2002
This and similar papers by Garner and Short are probably the most up-to-date work on “subjective” poverty measures now being done in the United States.

Links to Related Sites
Find other agencies or organizations which provide Poverty Measurement Research

- Poverty Measurement Working Papers
- incl. links to papers and reports organized under the following themes:
* Measuring Poverty - Background and Overview * Who are the Poor? Using Different Measures * Poverty Thresholds * Medical Care * Housing Costs * Work-related Expenses and Child Care * Taxes and Unit of Analysis * Other Approaches to Measuring Economic Well-being

History of the Poverty Measure
- links to the following papers:
* The Development of the Orshansky Thresholds and Their Subsequent History as the Official U.S. Poverty Measure, by Gordon M. Fisher (1992)
* "Changes in the Definition of Poverty", from Characteristics of the Population Below the Poverty Level: 1980
* Office of Management and Budget Statistical Policy Directive 14 (1978) - establishing the official poverty measure for federal agencies to use in their statistical work.
* The Measure of Poverty (1976) A series of technical papers about poverty measurement performed for the Poverty Studies Task Force of the Federal Interagency Committee on Education.
* Family Food Plans and Food Costs (1962)

Related Link:

Census Bureau Income Page - incl. links to : * What's New * Income Main * Overview * Reports * Definitions * Guidance about the Sources * How Income Data is Collected * Micro Data Access * Related Topics * FAQ * Current and historical income data

Census Bureau Releases Income and Poverty Estimates
Reflecting Expanded Income Definitions
Press Release
February 14, 2006
A U.S. Census Bureau report, The Effects of Government Taxes and Transfers on Income and Poverty: 2004 was released today. The report provides alternative national poverty rates that range from 8.3 percent, using a more comprehensive definition of income that includes the value of noncash benefits and excludes taxes, to 19.4 percent, using another definition of income that excludes all government payments and does not deduct taxes. The official U.S. poverty rate of 12.7 percent was announced last summer.

Complete report:

The Effects of Government Taxes
and Transfers on Income and Poverty: 2004
(PDF file - 1MB, 22 pages)
[ Summary of findings - includes the official definition and three alternative definitions of poverty in the U.S.]
"In August 2005, the Census Bureau released its annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States. The income and poverty figures in that report were based on money income alone and did not include the effect of important public programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and noncash assistance such as food stamps and public or subsidized housing programs. As in previous years, the Census Bureau is now releasing a study that includes the effect of these and other government programs on economic summary measures, such as median household income, the Gini Index of income inequality, and the percentage of people below the poverty level. This release includes fewer alternative income definitions than previous reports to provide a more focused assessment of the effect of government programs (cash and noncash transfers and taxes, including the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit) on income and poverty summary measures." [Introduction]




United States

From the
United States Census Bureau:

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2014/cb14-169.html
September 16, 2014
News Release
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that in 2013, the poverty rate declined from the previous year for the first time since 2006, while there was no statistically significant change in either the number of people living in poverty or real median household income. In addition, the poverty rate for children under 18 declined from the previous year for the first time since 2000. The results for the nation were compiled from information collected in the 2014 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement [ http://goo.gl/oCZyGf ].

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5 percent, down from 15.0 percent in 2012. The 45.3 million people living at or below the poverty line in 2013, for the third consecutive year, did not represent a statistically significant change from the previous year’s estimate. Median household income in the United States in 2013 was $51,939; the change in real terms from the 2012 median of $51,759 was not statistically significant. This is the second consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive annual declines.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2013 calendar year was 13.4 percent; this amounted to 42.0 million people.

These findings are contained in two reports (see links below):
* Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013,
and
* Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013.

---

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013
Current Population Reports
(PDF - 1.7MB, 72 pages)
https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf
September 2014
Summary of findings:
• Real median household income in 2013 was not statistically different from the 2012 median income.
• The official poverty rate decreased between 2012 and 2013, while the number in poverty in 2013 was not statistically different from 2012.

---

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013
Poulation reports
(PDF - 1.1MB, 28 pages)
http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-250.pdf
September 16, 2014
Health insurance is a means for financing a person’s health care expenses. While the majority of people have private health insurance coverage, primarily through an employer, many others obtain health insurance through programs offered by the government. Other individuals do not have health insurance at all. This report presents statistics on health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the 2014 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement [ http://goo.gl/oCZyGf ] and the 2013 American Community Survey (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/). Estimates from both surveys, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, reflect health insurance coverage during the year 2013.

Selected Highlights:
• In 2013, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire calendar year was 13.4 percent, or 42.0 million.
• The percentage of people with health insurance for all or part of 2013 was 86.6 percent.
• In 2013, the majority of individuals, 64.2 percent, were covered by private health insurance.

The largest single type of health insurance in 2013 was employment-based health insurance, which covered 53.9 percent of the population.

Source:
United States Census Bureau

http://www.census.gov/

---

From The White House:

Five Key points in Today's
Report from the Census Bureau:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/09/16/income-poverty-and-health-insurance-united-states-2013
September 16, 2014
1. The overall poverty rate declined to 14.5 percent in 2013 due to the largest one-year drop in child poverty since 1966.
2. Real median income for family households rose by $603 in 2013 but remains below pre-crisis levels.
3. While still too wide, the gender pay gap narrowed slightly in 2013, with the female-to-male earnings ratio climbing above 78 percent for the first time on record.
4. Children and the elderly were much more likely than non-elderly adults to have health insurance coverage in 2013, reflecting the contributions of public programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
5. The data released today by the Census Bureau cover the calendar year 2013, and so do not reflect the notable improvement in the labor market seen over the first eight months of 2014.

Source: The White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From Huffington Post.com:

2013 Census Data on Poverty, Income Tells a Story About Our Priorities
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tiziana-dearing/2013-census-data-on-pover_b_5830404.html
September 17, 2014
So where should we invest? In training for the knowledge economy, small scale manufacturing in cities and a "green" workforce that puts people in jobs while turning our country energy independent. Protect non-cash programs like SNAP and EITC, scale them up and model other interventions after them. Create public policies that build assets for non-stock holders, using mechanisms like matched savings, other tax credits and asset-based welfare.

Source:
Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From CLASP:

New Census Data Tell Us That Poverty Fell in 2013:
Children and Young Adults Still Face the Greatest Risks
http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/2014.09.16-Census-Bureau-Poverty-Data-Report-FINAL.pdf
September 16, 2014
According to 2013 Census data released today, the overall poverty rate fell by half a percentage point, to 14.5 percent. Poverty for children fell by nearly 2 percentage points. Yet children (especially young children) once again experienced the highest rates of poverty in the United States. Young adults were close behind. Four years after the Great Recession officially ended, nearly one in five children and young adults lived in poverty.
NOTE : Skip to the bottom of the article for links to 25+ related resources.

Also from CLASP:

2013 Poverty Data: A Glimpse of Good News for Children, But We Can Do Better
http://www.clasp.org/issues/child-care-and-early-education/in-focus/2013-poverty-data-a-glimpse-of-good-news-for-children-but-we-can-do-better
September 16, 2014
By Hannah Matthews
For the first time since 2000, the overall child poverty rate fell, according to U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey (CPS) data released today on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the year 2013. This is good news. The numbers indicate a return from the extraordinarily high child poverty rates experienced during the depths of the recession. But these decreases don’t diminish the unacceptably high number of children still living in poor families, particularly our youngest children and Black and Hispanic children

Source:
CLASP - Solutions that work for low-income people
http://www.clasp.org/
Since 1969, CLASP has been a trusted resource, a creative architect for systems change, and one of the country's most effective voices for low income people.

---

From Poverty Dispatch:

September 16, 2014
http://www.irp.wisc.edu/dispatch/2014/09/16/
Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 (6 articles)
Source:
Poverty Dispatch (U.S.)

http://www.irp.wisc.edu/dispatch

---------------------------------------------------

Note : for a similar extensive collection of links to this report for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, go to:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/income_poverty_health_archive.htm



Poverty Statistics
- includes links to : * Poverty Home * Overview * Publications * Definitions * Thresholds * Microdata Access * Related Sites * FAQ
[ U.S. Census Bureau ]

Related Link:

Census Bureau Income Statistics Page - incl. Current Population Survey (CPS) | American Community Survey (ACS) | Decennial Census | Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) | Survey of Program Dynamics (SPD) | Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates | Income Inequality | Access Tools | Definitions | Related Topics



Measuring Income and Poverty in the United States

April 2007
By Nancy K. Cauthen, Sarah Fass
Fact Sheet
HTML version
PDF version (88K, 3 pages)
This fact sheet discusses how the U.S. government measures poverty, why the current measure is inadequate, and what alternative ways exist to measure economic hardship.

Related links:

Economic Snapshot for April 11, 2007:
More poverty than meets the eye
by Jared Bernstein
When it comes to poverty in America, almost every analyst agrees that the official measure is terribly out-of-date and no longer provides a valid indication of economic deprivation. Thankfully, the Census Bureau has implemented the recommendations of a mid-1990s panel of social scientists devoted to correcting the shortcomings of the official measure. The most accurate of these recommended new measures1 makes several improvements: it accounts for the costs and benefits of taxes and near-cash transfers, like food stamps; it reduces the income of working families for costs associated with work; it makes adjustments for price differences throughout the country; and, it allows the poverty thresholds to reflect changes in consumption by the non-poor.
Source:
[ Economic Policy institute ]

Source:
National Center for Children in Poverty



Poverty Ain't What It Used to Be
- U.S. (article)
by Garth Mangum, Andrew Sum, Neeta Fogg
"Even by conventional measures, the proportion of Americans living in poverty has only just begun to decline after a decade of economic expansion. But these authors argue that progress is even slower because the poverty line is much too low. IS IT only perpetuating our historical reputation as the "dismal science" that keeps economists looking for weeds and nettles among the flowering of the prospering U.S. economy? Among those entrancing blooms have been the recent declines in both the absolute numbers and the rates of poverty. Yet our urge for statistical and policy relevance motivates us to raise again the question of the way poverty has been measured in the United States over the past thirty-five years. (...) the federal government's poverty measurements have so deteriorated over time that return to a poverty standard designed to bring the relative standards of living represented by the official poverty-income thresholds into the same relationship that existed in 1964 would nearly double both the number and the percent of persons and families declared to be poor today."
NOTE: this is one of the relatively few recent proposals for a higher U.S. poverty line that is not based on family budget studies.
Source:
March 2000 Issue
Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs
"Covers a wide range of views on national and international economic affairs with the intention of promoting a more rational and effective public policy."

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Comment re. Poverty Ain't What It Used to Be
(December 2004)

The authors note that consumption patterns and the relative prices of various necessities have changed significantly since the U.S. poverty line was established during the 1960's, and urge that the "outmoded" official measure be raised by two thirds--to 165 percent of its current level. By historical accident, the poverty line for a four-person family was about equal to one half of median post-tax income for such a family when it was established; the authors urge that the poverty line be restored to and kept at this benchmark, which would have raised it to 165 percent of its current level at the time they wrote. They present figures on the population below 165 percent of the current poverty line, showing how this population is distributed among various demographic groups and geographic regions. (This article is a summary of the following 149-page publication of the Sar Levitan Center for Social Policy Studies <http://www.levitan.org/>: Neal Fogg, Andrew Sum, and Garth Mangum, with Neeta Fogg and Sheila Palma, Poverty Ain't What it Used to Be: The Case for and Consequences of Redefining Poverty (Policy Issues Monograph 99-03), Sar Levitan Center for Social Policy Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, June 1999.)

[From an anonymous contributor to Canadian Social Research Links]



Family Budgets/Basic Needs Budgets (Unofficial)

September 5, 2004
[Contributed by an anonymous donor]

Since the early 1990's, a number of U.S. analysts and advocates, rejecting the official federal poverty line as a measure of income inadequacy, have been estimating the cost of minimum basic needs for working families by developing "basic needs budgets" or "family budgets."

A number of these budgets have been developed in the context of either the Living Wage movement or welfare-to-work activities. Most of them have been developed for only one state or one locality. Nineteen budget studies were reviewed in Jared Bernstein, Chauna Brocht, and Maggie Spade-Aguilar, How Much Is Enough? Basic Family Budgets for Working Families, Washington, D.C., Economic Policy Institute, 2000.

Of these budgets, those developed for a one-parent/two-child family were between 152 percent and 331 percent of the corresponding poverty threshold, while budgets developed for a two-parent/two-child family were between 169 percent and 288 percent of the corresponding poverty threshold. Variations are due to both geographic cost differences and some differences in cost assumptions and coverage in individual budgets.

Prominent among these family budgets is the Self-Sufficiency Standard created by Dr. Diana Pearce (now at the University of Washington); it has been referred to as the "gold standard" of family budgets. "The Self-Sufficiency Standard measures how much income is needed for a family of a given composition in a given place to adequately meet their basic needs--without public or private assistance"; it is "a basic family survival budget, with no frills--no take-out pizza, no movies...no budget for emergencies, car repair or long-term savings."

Since the mid-1990's, Dr. Pearce has partnered with Wider Opportunities for Women and state organizations and coalitions to develop Self- Sufficiency Standards for at least 34 states and two major metropolitan areas. Figures are calculated by county for 70 different family subtypes.

Setting the Standard for American Working Families is a 56-page report by Wider Opportunities for Women detailing the uses and the nationwide impact of the Self-Sufficiency Standard.

In 2003, Dr. Pearce authored a 70-page report, Overlooked & Undercounted: A new perspective on the struggle to make ends meet in California. This report shows that in 2000, 30.3 percent of California's households (excluding the aged and disabled) were below the Self-Sufficiency Standard, while only 10.6 percent of all households were below the official federal poverty thresholds.

In 2001, the Economic Policy Institute published a book in which the authors developed basic family budgets for 1999 for six different family types (one- and two-parent families with one, two, and three children) for every metropolitan area and for the "rural" [actually nonmetropolitan] balance of each state. (The book was Heather Boushey, Chauna Brocht, Bethney Gundersen, and Jared Bernstein, Hardships in America: The Real Story of Working Families, Washington, D.C., Economic Policy Institute, 2001.

"The budgets do not include the cost of restaurant meals, vacations, movies, or savings for education or retirement." For two-parent two-child families, the national median for the budgets was $33,511, almost twice the 1999 official poverty threshold of $16,895 for a family of this type. Looking at Current Population Survey data for 1997-1999 for families of the above six family types with positive earnings, the book found that 28.9 percent of them were below their family budget levels, while only 10.1 percent of them were below the official poverty thresholds.

Sources:
Economic Policy Institute
Six Strategies for Family Economic Security
--- part of Wider Opportunities for Women
National Economic Development and Law Center



Measuring Poverty in America: Science or Politics?
HTML Intro

Complete report
(PDF file - 233K, 26 pages)
April 2002
To date, this appears to be the only major conservative paper presenting arguments against the use of basic needs budgets as measures of income inadequacy in the U.S.
Source:
Employment Policies Institute

But hold on for a minute...

Here's an excerpt from what SourceWatch* has to say about the Employment Policies Institute:
[ *SourceWatch "is a collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests. SourceWatch is sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy." ]

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Employment_Policies_Institute

"The Employment Policies Institute is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries [bolding added]. EPI, registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, has been widely quoted in news stories regarding minimum wage issues, and although a few of those stories have correctly described it as a "think tank financed by business," most stories fail to provide any identification that would enable readers to identify the vested interests behind its pronouncements. Instead, it is usually described exactly the way it describes itself, as a "non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth" that "focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment." In reality, EPI's mission is to keep the minimum wage low so Berman's clients can continue to pay their workers as little as possible [more bolding added]. EPI also owns the internet domain names to MinimumWage.com and LivingWage.com, a website that attempts to portray the idea of a living wage for workers as some kind of insidious conspiracy. "Living wage activists want nothing less than a national living wage," it warns (as though there is something wrong with paying employees enough that they can afford to eat and pay rent)."



Measuring Poverty: A New Approach
(U.S.)

1995 - 536 pages

Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance: Concepts, Information Needs, and Measurement Methods

Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council

Read it Online - free
Source:
National Academy Press (NAP)
- ("More than 3,000 books online free")

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The Mismeasure of Poverty
A more accurate index is long overdue
[dead link]
August-September 2006
By Nicholas Eberstadt
"(...) Central as the “poverty rate” has become to antipoverty policy — or, more precisely, especially because of its central role in such policies — the official poverty rate should likewise be discarded in favor of a more accurate index, or set of indices, for describing material deprivation in modern America. The task of devising a better statistical lodestar for our nation’s antipoverty efforts is by now far overdue. Properly pursued, it is an initiative that would rightly tax both our formidable government statistical apparatus and our finest specialists in the relevant disciplines. But such exertions would also stand to benefit the common weal in as yet incalculable ways."

Source:
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, is a public policy research center devoted to advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs.

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Economic Policy Institute
EPI works to strengthen democracy by providing people with the tools to participate in the public discussion on the economy, believing that such participation will result in economic policies that better reflect the public interest. (...) EPI was established in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. Today, with global competition expanding, wage inequality rising, and the methods and nature of work changing in fundamental ways, it is as crucial as ever that people who work for a living have a voice in the economic debate.

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National Center for Children in Poverty (Columbia University, New York)
"The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization at Columbia University. Our mission is to identify and promote strategies that prevent child poverty in the United States and that improve the lives of low-income children and families.

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Poverty Related Links
- links to several hundred sites providing information about poverty in America
Source:
Institute for Research on Poverty
(University of Wisconsin)

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Child, Family, & Community Indicators Book - U.S.
[Dated August 2002, posted to the Child Trends website Dec. 12, 2003]
"The California Children & Families Commission contracted for evaluation activities to support their outcome-based accountability system (called results-based accountability or RBA) to track progress in the areas of maternal and child health, child development, family functioning, and systems change. Child Trends helped produce the 550-page Child, Family, & Community Indicators Book to inform decisions about outcomes, performance measures, and other factors to include in the statewide evaluation."
Source:
Child Trends

Complete book online:
Child, Family, & Community Indicators Book (PDF file - 3.7MB, 550 pages)

Related Links:
California Children & Families Commission

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Institute for Social Research (ISR) - University of Michigan
...the nation's longest-standing laboratory for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences.
Enormous site! From this page, check out the links to ISR's four centers:  Survey Research Center - Research Center for Group Dynamics - Center for Political Studies - Population Studies Center

* See the Index of ISR Projects for a complete list of projects from all four centers - includes links to income dynamics, health dynamics, aging, public opinion research, demographics, and more...

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), located within the Institute for Social Research,  is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization serving member colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. ICPSR provides:
- Access to the world's largest archive of computerized social science data.

- Training facilities for the study of quantitative social analysis techniques.

- Resources for social scientists using advanced computer technologies.

Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID)
Institute for Social Research

The PSID is an ongoing longitudinal survey (since 1968) of 8,700 core households designed to illuminate the economic behavior of individuals in relation to their families as a whole. The data are collected annually, and the data files contain the full span of information collected over the course of the study. PSID data can be used for cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intergenerational analysis and for studying both individuals and families.

Child Development Supplement
In 1997, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) supplemented its core data collection with data on parents and  their 0- to 12-year-old children, the Child Development Supplement. The objective of this study is to provide researchers with a comprehensive, nationally representative, and longitudinal data base of [over 3,500] children and their families with which to study the dynamic process of early human capital formation. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.

 


Happiness Economics : We Love to See You Smile
- April 10, 2007
American surveys over the past few decades seem to show that a personal sense of happpiness doesn't necessarily go along with a high Gross National Product. According to the author, many economists feel that it makes more sense to shift priorities to boosting other (non-GNP) forms of well-being, like happiness itself. Indeed, why not measure Gross National Happiness (GNH) in place of GNP?

The Economics of Happiness (PDF file - 104K, 13 pages)
2005
- from the Brookings Institution

A Plateau of Happiness
("A country's wealth may not always indicate the happiness of its people")
Source:
New York Times

The Second International Conference on Gross National Happiness
June 20 to June 24, 2005

Gross National Happiness:
A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom

October 4, 2005
"What is happiness? In the United States and in many other industrialized countries, it is often equated with money. Economists measure consumer confidence on the assumption that the resulting figure says something about progress and public welfare. The gross domestic product, or G.D.P., is routinely used as shorthand for the well-being of a nation. But the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been trying out a different idea. In 1972, concerned about the problems afflicting other developing countries that focused only on economic growth, Bhutan's newly crowned leader, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to make his nation's priority not its G.D.P. but its G.N.H., or gross national happiness..."

Related link:

Center for Bhutan Studies

World Values Survey
The World Values Survey is organised as a network of social scientists coordinated by a central body, the World Values Survey Association. (...) The World Values Survey Association is founded in order to help social scientists and policy makers better understand worldviews and changes that are taking place in the beliefs, values and motivations of people throughout the world.

World Values Survey - from Wikipedia

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing:
Measuring What Matters

The CIW is being developed as a tool to account honestly and accurately for changes in our human, social, economic and natural wealth through a new index that can best capture the full range of factors that determine wellbeing in Canada – health prevention initiatives, clear air and water, genuine progress by our Aboriginal peoples, early childhood education, and other determinants of a healthy nation.
Source:
The Atkinson Foundation

Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada
Since the Second World War, economic growth statistics based on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have been widely used as a proxy for societal wellbeing and prosperity. This was not the intention of those who created the GDP. (...) GDP-based measures were never meant to be used as a measure of progress, as they are today. In fact, activities that degrade our quality of life, like crime, pollution, and addictive gambling, all make the economy grow. The more fish we sell and the more trees we cut down, the more the economy grows. Working longer hours makes the economy grow. And the economy can grow even if inequality and poverty increase.
United States, at #150, in the dust.
Source:
New Economics Foundation (U.K.)

Guidelines for National Indicators of Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being (PDF file - 25K, 7 pages)
November 2005
- promoted by leading happiness researcher Ed Diener and a group of 50 prominent psychologists, sociologists, and economists.

World Database of Happiness
- covers the following themes:
* Consumption * Cultural climate * Crime * Demography * Education * Freedom * Geography * Happiness * Health * Inequality * Institutional quality * Law and order * Lifestyle * Modernity * Personality * Politics * Risks * Social climate * Values * War * Wealth
Source:
Erasmus University (Rotterdam)


What Does It Mean to Be Poor in a Rich Society? (PDF - 192K, 37 pages)
September 2008
Robert Haveman
Department of Economics and Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Excerpt from the abstract:
In this paper, the author attempts to broaden the discussion of poverty and poverty measurement. He first discusses the broad question of “what is poverty?” and describes various poverty concepts that have been proposed. He then describes the official U.S. poverty measure, highlights its main characteristics, and notes some of the criticisms directed toward it. Finally, he examines broader conceptions of poverty and deprivation. The paper ends with a modest proposal for the development of a broader measure of poverty and social exclusion for the United States.

Source:
Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP Discussion Paper Abstracts - 2008 <===click for 12 more papers.
[ Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) ]
[ University of Wisconsin-Madison ]

Also from IRP:

Poverty Levels and Trends in Comparative Perspective (PDF - 140K, 27 pages)
September 2008
By Daniel R. Meyer and Geoffrey L. Wallace
Excerpt from the abstract:
In 2006, 42 years after President Johnson proclaimed war on poverty, the rate of poverty according to the official measure was 12.3 percent, about the same as it was in the late-1960s. A poverty measure that incorporates additional income sources shows somewhat lower poverty, 11.4 percent, but if a relative measure (that incorporates changes in the standard of living over time) is used, poverty in 2006 would be 16.0 percent. Regardless of the exact rate, it is clear that the struggle against poverty has been protracted and difficult, and, despite a variety of social policy changes, very little progress has been made. This paper reviews the way in which poverty is officially measured in the U.S., examines which groups are most affected and how poverty has changed over time, and concludes with a comparison of U.S. poverty rates with those of other countries. The authors end with the suggestion that “perhaps it is time for a renewed war on poverty, this time fought with new commitments and different policy weapons.

 

United Kingdom

From HM Treasury:

Ending child poverty:
mapping the route to 2020
(PDF - 718K, 52 pages)
March 2010
This paper sets out the Government’s strategic direction for ending child poverty by 2020 and beyond to inform the National Strategy to be published within 12 months of the date of Royal Assent of the Child Poverty Bill. (which was 25 March 2010). The new bill enshrines the pledge to eradicate child poverty in the UK by 2020 as a binding duty on the Government.
(...)
The Child Poverty Bill sets out four challenging UK-wide targets to be reached and sustained from 2020:
• Relative poverty – to reduce the proportion of children who live in relative low income (in families with income below 60 per cent of the median) to less than 10 per cent;
• Combined low income and material deprivation – to reduce the proportion of children who live in material deprivation and have a low income to less than 5 per cent;
• Persistent poverty – to reduce the proportion of children that experience long periods of relative poverty, with the specific target to be set at a later date; and
• Absolute poverty – to reduce the proportion of children who live in absolute low income to less than 5 per cent.
Source:
Budget 2010 Documents

Related links from the
Office of Public Sector Information
:

The Child Poverty Act, 2010
Public Acts of 2010, Chapter 9

Full text of The Child Poverty Act, which received Royal Assent on 25 March 2010.

Explanatory notes - Child Poverty Act 2010
- good contextual and background information

----------------------------------------

From Save the Children UK:

UK child poverty
March 2010
We’re outraged that 4 million children are living in poverty and a staggering 1.7 million children are living in severe and persistent poverty in the UK — one of the richest countries in the world. The Child Poverty Act is now law and is a historic milestone in the fight against child poverty. This places a legal obligation on all future governments to act to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. However, after the Spring Budget 2010 which failed to deliver the scale of support that children living in poverty today need, it's clear that the Act alone is not enough.
(...)
The number of children living in severe poverty in the UK has shot up to 1.7 million — 260,000 higher than in 2004, according to our latest briefing Measuring Severe Child Poverty in the UK - commissioned from the New Policy Institute. Shockingly London, one of the world’s richest cities, is home to a fifth of all children living in severe poverty in the UK.

Source:
Save the Children UK
We’re working flat out to ensure children get proper healthcare, food, education and protection. We're saving lives in emergencies, campaigning for children's rights, and improving their futures through long-term development work.

Related link:

New Policy Institute (NPI)
NPI is a progressive think tank, founded in 1996 by Guy Palmer and Peter Kenway. Wholly independent, we have neither financial backers nor political patrons.

----------------

Minimum Income Standard (Britain)
- incl. links to:
* Detailed results 2008 * 2009 update * Work in progress * The team * Publications * Links * Join our mailing list * Contact us
A Minimum Income Standard for Britain is an ongoing programme of research to define what level of income is needed to allow a minimum acceptable standard of living in Britain today. Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, it is a collaboration between the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University and the Family Budget Unit at York University. It brings together two approaches to setting budget standards: the "consensual" negotiation of budgets by panels of ordinary people, and budgets based on research evidence and expert judgements. In MIS, members of the public negotiate budgets and experts check these decisions and advise where they think there is a case for amending them. The first results of MIS were posted in July 2008, and the results were updated in July 2009; links to both reports appear below.

---

A minimum income standard for Britain:
What people think
(PDF - 236K, 64 pages)
July 2008
By Jonathan Bradshaw et al.
"(...) Poverty is currently being measured in three main ways, but none of these is producing a socially agreed minimum standard.
1. Relative income measures...
2. Measures of deprivation...
3. Budget standards..."

---

A minimum income standard
for Britain in 2009
(PDF - 427K, 24 pages)
July 2009
By Donald Hirsch, Abigail Davis and Noel Smith
Published on 1 July 2009, this report is the first annual update of the Minimum Income Standard for Britain (MIS), originally published in 2008. The standard is based on research into what members of the public, informed where relevant by expert knowledge, think should go into a budget in order to achieve a minimum socially acceptable standard of living. The report considers two aspects of uprating the standard for 2009: changes in prices that influence the cost of a minimum ‘basket’ of goods and services, and changes in living standards that may influence what items should be included in that basket.

Related links:

Joseph Rowntree Foundation
"We seek to understand the root causes of social problems,
to identify ways of overcoming them, and to show how social needs can be met in practice."

Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) (Loughborough University)

Family Budget Unit (York University)

Basic Income Earth Network
Founded in 1986, the Basic Income European Network (BIEN) aims to serve as a link between individuals and groups committed to, or interested in, basic income, i.e. an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement, and to foster informed discussion on this topic throughout Europe.

Related guaranteed annual income links:

Go to the Guaranteed Annual Income Links page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/gai.htm

---

Poverty Reduction Strategies in the United Kingdom and Ireland
By Chantal Collin (Political and Social Affairs Division)
2 November 2007
HTML version
PDF version
(98 Kb, 15 pages)
Table of Contents:
* Introduction
The United Kingdom’s Strategy to Reduce Poverty and Social Exclusion
* A. A Multi-pronged Approach
* B. Key Objectives and Measures
* C. Measuring Success
* D. Key Challenges
* E. What’s Next? Reaching Out
Ireland’s National Anti-Poverty Strategy
* A. Multi-dimensional Approach
* B. Key Targets
* C. Measuring Success
* D. What’s Next? National Action Plan for Social Inclusion
* Summary
Source:
Parliamentary Research Library
(Government of Canada)

---

From the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (U.K.):

Centenary report throws new searchlight on Britain’s poor families and neighbourhoods
Press Release
December 13, 2004
"Challenging new indicators that reveal the concentrations of child poverty, poor housing, school underachievement and crime in Britain’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods should be used by government to intensify the struggle against deprivation and social exclusion during the next 20 years, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. A report published to mark the Foundation’s 100th anniversary today argues that the new measurements should inform a comprehensive strategy for helping the poorest places as well as the poorest people – and for making sure that the life chances of children, young people and adults no longer depend so heavily on the places where they are born and live."

One Hundred Years of Poverty and Policy (PDF file - 874K,188 pages) - U.K.
November 2004

A decade of tackling poverty, but Britain's far from a fair society
Press Release
August 2, 2004
"Ten years after its groundbreaking Commission on Social Justice, set up at the request of the late John Smith, the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) is today (Mon 2) publishing an audit of social injustice. It forms the first part of ippr's work on Rethinking Social Justice, a project which assesses how Britain has changed since the 1994 Commission and sets out new policy directions for the decade ahead."

An Audit of Injustice in the UK (PDF file - 1.16MB, 68 pages)
August 2004
Will Paxton and Mike Dixon
"The interim report for ippr's 2004 social justice project presents facts and figures on the UK and its population. What has improved in the past decade and what has not? The paper is divided into five sections: 'poverty', 'shared prosperity', 'social mobility and life chances', 'equal citizenship' and 'quality of life'. It finds that much has improved in the UK over the past decade, but to ensure a legacy of a more just Britain, we can't hide from areas where we have made less progress."

Project Outline (PDF file - 152K, 11 pages)
January 2004
This paper outlines the scope and aim of ippr's Social Justice project. It is meant merely as the basis for discussion. Some of the issues raised may not be examined in detail in the final publication and other policy challenges may be added as the project develops."

Source:
Institute for Public Policy Research
"ippr is the UK's leading progressive think tank. Through our well-researched and clearly argued policy analysis, reports and publications, our strong networks in government, academia and the corporate and voluntary sectors and our high media profile, we play a vital role in maintaining the momentum of progressive thought."


Family Budget Unit

"The Family Budget Unit, headquartered at the University of York in England, is the group that is responsible for the renaissance of budgets ("budget standards," as the British call them) as a major tool in poverty research and living standards research in Britain since the early 1990s. They published Budget Standards for the United Kingdom (edited by Jonathan Bradshaw) in 1993, and budgets for Low Cost but Acceptable (LCA) incomes for families with young children and aged households (edited by Hermione Parker) in 1998 and 2000. Their main web page includes a brief description of the two living standards--Modest but Adequate, and Low Cost but Acceptable--that they use."

Publications - full-text downloadable (PDF) files of the nine most recent publications, including updates of their LCA budgets for families with children and for the aged.

U.K. Department for Work and Pensions
"The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for the Government's welfare reform agenda. Its aim is to promote opportunity and independence for all. It delivers support and advice through a modern network of services to people of working age, employers, pensioners, families and children and disabled people"

Poverty: Measures and Targets (PDF file - 355K, 81 pages) - United Kingdom [dead link]
March 4, 2004
Research Paper 04/23
"There are many difficulties inherent in defining and measuring poverty. This paper looks at these, and the Government’s approach to monitoring poverty, together with a range of ‘low income’ poverty statistics. The Government has set itself a target of reducing child poverty by a quarter by 2004. This paper follows progress towards the target, and considers whether it is likely to be met. This target is a first step towards the ‘eradication’ of child poverty by 2020. A consultation process has recently led to a new measurement of child poverty that will be used to monitor progress towards future targets."
- Part I discusses poverty, social exclusion and some alternative approaches to poverty measurement
- Part II explains Households Below Average Income (HBAI) methodology and terms
- Part III presents selected HBAI statistics (including trends over time)
- Part IV presents international comparisons of low income poverty [including Canada], based on EU and OECD sources.
- Part V looks at the Government's progress in reaching its 2004/05 child poverty target
- Part VI summarises the consultation exercise started in April 2002 [ by the Department for Work and Pensions ] on a new child poverty measure to be used to judge whether the Government’s future targets for halving child poverty by 2010, and eradicating it by 2020, are met.
Source:
The United Kingdom Parliament

Related Links

Measuring child poverty consultation, Final report (PDF file - 166K, 27 pages) [dead link]
United Kingdom
December 2003

Related Documents (background info)

Opportunity for All - series of annual reports (starting in 1999) with detailed information about the U.K. Government strategy against poverty and social exclusion
The first report set out "evidence-based strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion. The report also established indicators of progress to audit the effectiveness of this strategy."

Opportunity for All: Fifth Annual Report 2003

Work and Pensions - Written Evidence

Written Evidence ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14 January 2004.
- incl. links to over 35 submissions providing comprehensive, detailed information on child poverty and poverty measurement in the United kingdom from over 35 individuals and organizations. Presenters include the Association of London Government, the Citizen's Income Trust, Save the Children, the End Child Poverty Campaign, the Northern Ireland Anti Poverty Network, CARE, the Disability Alliance, the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the Child Poverty Action Group, the Department for Work and Pensions, Daycare Trust and many more.
Recommended reading!

Preliminary conclusions : Measuring child poverty consultation (PDF file - 260K, 58 pages) [dead link]
United Kingdom
May 2003
"This document sets out preliminary conclusions from Measuring child poverty: A consultation document which we published in April 2002, and outlines our recommendations and next steps."

Government publishes initial response to consultation on measuring child poverty [dead link]
May 14, 2003
Press Release

Government to consult on measuring child poverty [dead link]
Press Release
April 18, 2002
"The Government is to seek the views of poverty experts on how to build on current indicators to measure child poverty. The Department for Work and Pensions is publishing the "Measuring Child Poverty" consultation paper today to ensure the Government is using the best possible measure to track long-term progress in tackling child poverty. The consultation is in response to calls from academics and other poverty experts to look at different ways of measuring poverty including those used in other countries."
[The consultation period ended 10 July 2002.]

Measuring child poverty: a consultation document (PDF file - 146K, 36 pages) [dead link]
April 2002
"In March 1999, the Prime Minister announced the Government’s commitment to eradicate child poverty within a generation. As we move towards this goal we want to be sure that we are measuring poverty in a way that helps to target effective policies and enables the Government to be held to account for progress."

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Social Indicators (U.K.) - PDF file - 769K, 71 pages [dead link]
November 2001
"The House of Commons Library Research Papers are published for the benefit of Parliament members, but this one should be of interest to both researchers and general readers wanting to learn more about contemporary British social issues. Social Indicators is the first paper in a new series that will be published three times a year. The 71-page paper includes a wide range of topic pages that present social statistics on a variety of issues, from the prison population to defense expenses to agricultural outputs. Each Social Indicator paper will also offer feature articles that give a closer look at specific subjects (in this instance,, election turnout and adult literacy) and an article on statistical sources for a particular issue (in this paper, social security statistics). The last few pages are devoted to a list of important, recent governmental statistical publications

Reviewed by:
The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2001

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Does it matter that we don't agree on the definition of poverty? A comparison of four approaches (PDF file - 133K, 41 pages) [dead link]
U.K.
Working Paper No. 107
May 2003
"While there is worldwide agreement on poverty reduction as an overriding goal of development policy, there is little agreement on the definition of poverty. The paper reviews four approaches to the definition and measurement of poverty - the monetary, capability, social exclusion and participatory approaches. It points out the theoretical underpinnings of the various measures, and problems of operationalising them. It argues that each is a construction of reality, involving numerous judgements, which are often not transparent."
Source:
Development Studies at Oxford

Miscellaneous International Poverty Links
(in reverse chronological order)

The emperor's new suit : Global poverty estimates reappraised (PDF - 354K, 66 pages)
July 2009
By S. Reddy
Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis
Summary : The recent revision of the World Bank’s global poverty estimates based on a new $1.25 (2005 PPP) poverty line underlines their unreliability and lack of meaningfulness. It is very difficult to justify various aspects of the Bank’s approach. In the short term, less weight should be given to the Bank’s poverty estimates in monitoring the first MDG. In the longer term, a solution to the observed problems requires adopting an altogether different method. Such an alternative exists but requires global institutional coordination. Until it is implemented, the crisis in the monitoring of global consumption poverty can be expected to intensify.
Geographical area : International data.
Source:
Bulletin N°186 (August 24, 2009)[dead link]
Council for Employment, Income and Social Cohesion - Paris[dead link]
[ Conseil de l'emploi, des revenus et de la cohésion sociale (CERC) - version française][dead link]

A path-dependent poverty measure
[Click "Download PDF paper" - 229K, 27 pages]
July 2009
By L. Ceriani,
Centre for Research on the Public Sector
Econpubblica, Milano
Summary : The paper provides the axiomatic characterization of a new poverty measure, the path-dependent poverty index. This is a two period index taking into account not only individuals current and past deprivation levels, but also the relative position with respect to their previous income status. Given two populations with the same distribution of incomes, path-dependent poverty is higher for the population where all individuals experienced an income fall. Not only they are poor, they also feel the pain for their loss. The new index is illustrated with an application to EU countries.
Geographical area : Europe
Source:
Bulletin N°186 (August 24, 2009)[dead link]
Council for Employment, Income and Social Cohesion - Paris[dead link]
[ Conseil de l'emploi, des revenus et de la cohésion sociale (CERC) - version française][dead link]

Two days, two reports, two very different worlds
June 29, 2007
The World Wealth Report 2007 released on Wednesday by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini reports that the very rich (so-called high net worth individuals – HNWI) are getting even richer. And the forecast is the extremely wealthy are going to get even richer due to their dominance of global capital markets, especially commercial real estate and real estate investment trusts. Meanwhile, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a detailed research report on Thursday called Rising Profit Shares, Falling Wage Shares which shows that real hourly wages for workers (the people that do things, rather than own things) “have been stagnant for 30 years running”.The two studies make fascinating reading, when set side-by-side...
Source:
The Wellesley Institute Blog
[ The Wellesley Institute ]

The two reports:

Canadian workers’ paycheques in 30-year holding pattern : Study [dead link]
Press Release
June 28, 2007
OTTAWA – Canadians are working harder and smarter, contributing to a growing economy, but their paycheques have been stagnant for the past 30 years, says a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Complete study:

Rising Profit Shares, Falling Wage Shares - (PDF File, 301K, 16 pages) [dead link]

Related link:

www.GrowingGap.ca
GrowingGap.ca is a project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
"(...)What does the growing gap look like? In 2004, the richest 10% of families raising children earned 82 times more than the poorest 10% -- almost triple the ratio of 1976, when they earned 31 times more. In after-tax terms the gap is at a 30-year high"

Source:
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

...and:

Merrill Lynch and Capgemini Release
11th Annual World Wealth Report
(PDF file - 55K, 4 pages)
Press Release
27 June 2007
New York, June 27 – Driven by a strong global economy, the wealth of the world’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs1) increased 11.4 percent to US$37.2 trillion in 2006, according to the 11th annual World Wealth Report, released today by Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) and Capgemini.

World Wealth Report page
- incl. links to : * Fast Breaking Headlines * World Wealth Report Overview * State of the World's Wealth * HNWI Asset Allocation * Spotlight - New Service Model for HNW Clients * Regional Facts * About the World Wealth Report * Capgemini Wealth Management Offerings * Merrill Lynch Global Private Client * WWR Press Releases * WWR Archive * more...

Complete report:

World Wealth Report 2007 (PDF file - 3.9MB, 36 pages)

Source:
Merrill Lynch
Capgemini

Chronic Poverty Research Centre (U.K.)
CPRC is an international partnership of universities, research institutes and NGOs established in 2000 with initial funding from the UK's Department for International Development.Chronic Poverty Research Centre

Related link:

Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre (U.K.)

The case for an EU-wide measure of poverty (PDF file - 240K, 25 pages)
[European Union]
July 2005
"Income poverty in the EU is normally measured by reference to income thresholds defined at the level of each member state, independently of any consideration of inequalities in income between member states. This approach has come under strain as a consequence of the recent enlargement of the EU: income differences between member states are now so wide that what is defined as the poverty threshold in the richer member states would count as an above-average income in the poorer member states. This paper proposes that, in order to cope with this new situation, measures of poverty based on EU-wide thresholds need to be utilised alongside existing measures."
(Source: Abstract, p. 1)

This paper is based on work carried out for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions under its research programme, ‘Monitoring Quality of Life in Europe’."

Source:
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI Dublin)

Also from ESRI:

The case for an EU-wide measure of poverty (PDF file - 240K, 25 pages)
T. Fahey, The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Working paper, n° 169, July, 25 p., (2005).
This paper is based on work carried out for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions under its research programme, ‘Monitoring Quality of Life in Europe’ (http://www.eurofound.eu.int/living/living_progress.htm).

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Bonn (Germany)
"IZA is a private, independent research institute, which conducts nationally and internationally oriented labor market research. Operating as a non-profit limited liability company, it draws financial support from the research-sponsoring activities of the Deutsche Post Foundation. (...) IZA sees itself as an international research institute and a place for communication between academic science, politics, and economic practice. A number of renowned economists involved in specific research projects cooperate with IZA, either internally or on a "virtual" basis. IZA also takes an active part in international research networks.

Sample reports:

On the definition and measurement of chronic poverty (PDF file, 23 pages)
March 2007
R. Aaberge and M. Mogstad
Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, IZA discussion paper, n° 2659
Summary :
As an alternative to the conventional methods for measuring chronic poverty, this paper proposes an interpersonal comparable measure of permanent income as a basis for defining and measuring chronic poverty. This approach accounts for the fact that individuals regularly undertake inter-period income transfers. Moreover, the approach allows for individual-specific interest rates on borrowing and saving as well as for the presence of liquidity constraints. Due to the general nature the proposed method proves useful for evaluating the theoretical basis of the standard methods for measuring chronic poverty.
Found in:
CERC Bulletin N°123, March 19, 2007 [dead link]
[ Council for Employment, Income and Social Cohesion - Paris ] [dead link]

Principles and Practicalities for Measuring Child Poverty in the Rich Countries (PDF file - 231K, 69 pages)
April 2005
Miles Corak
"This paper has three objectives. The first is to discuss the major issues involved in defining and measuring child poverty. The choices that must be made are clarified, and a set of six principles to serve as a guide for public policy are stated. The second objective is to take stock of child poverty and changes in child poverty in the majority of OECD countries since about 1990 when the Convention on the Rights of the Child came into force. Finally, the third objective is to formulate a number of suggestions for the setting of credible targets for the elimination of child poverty in the rich countries. This involves a method for embodying the ideal of children having priority on social resources into a particular set of child poverty reduction targets, it involves the development of appropriate and timely information sources, and finally it involves the clarification of feasible targets that may vary across the OECD."

Child Poverty and Changes in Child Poverty in Rich Countries Since 1990 (PDF file - 249K, 65 pages)
April 2005
by Wen-Hao Chen, Miles Corak
"This paper documents levels and changes in child poverty rates in 12 OECD countries using data from the Luxembourg Income Study project, and focusing upon an analysis of the reasons for changes over the 1990s. The objective is to uncover the relative role of income transfers from the state in determining the magnitude and direction of change in child poverty rates, holding other demographic and labour market factors constant. As such the paper offers a cross-country overview of child poverty, changes in child poverty, and the impact of public policy in North America and Europe."
NOTE: This paper was prepared as a contribution to the Innocenti Report Card No. 6 “Child Poverty in Rich Countries 2005,” UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

Source:
2005 IZA Discussion Papers
- links to 150 IZA reports released this year + links to hundreds of reports for previous years back to 1998 (for example, there are 474 papers in the 2004 collection)


UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) works to strengthen the capacity of UNICEF and its cooperating institutions to respond to the evolving needs of children and to develop a new global ethic for children. It promotes the effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in both developing and industrialized countries, thereby reaffirming the universality of children’s rights and of UNICEF’s mandate. [ About IRC ]

The Review of Income and Wealth, 1966-2000
Journal of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth
"The major objectives of The Review of Income and Wealth are the furthering of research on national and economic and social accounting, including the development of concepts and definitions for the measurement and analysis of income and wealth, the development and further integration of systems of economic and social statistics, and related problems of statistical methodology"
- incl. links to full text of back issues of the journal from 1966 to 2000, with several dozen studies in each issue
- wide range of topics, including : income inequality - measuring poverty and deprivation - pension wealth - income mobility - how best to measure welfare, real income, and output - poverty indices and policy analysis - relative or absolute poverty lines - demographic trends - much more...

Global poverty estimates and the millennium goals:
Towards a Unified Framework

April 2004
"This paper discusses the compatibility of different global poverty estimates under a unified framework, and examines the compatibility of various international poverty lines used in the literature under different purchasing power parity exchange rate estimates. The paper also addresses the issue of compatibility of survey means and national accounts data."
Complete report (PDF file - 2MB, 34 pages)
Source:
International Labour Organization



University of Leicester Produces the first ever World Map of Happiness
Happiness is ...being Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
A University of Leicester psychologist has produced the first ever ‘world map of happiness.’
July 28, 2006
Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at the University’s School of Psychology, analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR, to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness. The projection, which is to be published in a psychology journal this September, will be presented at a conference later in the year.

Here's a sampling consisting of the top five countries (of 178 countries in total)
plus a few of special interest:
1 - Denmark
2 - Switzerland
3 - Austria
4 - Iceland
5 - The Bahamas
10 - Canada
23 - USA
35 - Germany
41 - UK
62 - France
82 - China
...

Source:
University of Leicester

-----------------------------------------------------------

But before we Canadians start feeling too smug...

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The UNhappy Planet Index
An index of human well-being and environmental impact
(PDF file - 1.62MB, 59 pages) [dead link]
"This report takes a very different look at the wealth and poverty of nations. It measures the ecological efficiency with which, country by country, people achieve long and happy lives. In doing so, it strips our view of the economy back to its absolute basics: what goes in (natural resources) and what comes out (human lives of differing length and happiness)."

Top five countries in the Happy Planet Index are (followed by Canada and the USA in their respective spots in the list):
1. Vanuatu
2. Colombia
3. Costa Rica
4. Dominica
5. Panama
111. Canada
150. USA

Source:
new economics foundation


Trends and Driving Factors in Income Distribution and Poverty in the OECD Area (PDF file - 843K, 168 pages)
Occasional Paper No. 42

August 2000

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

This paper summarises trends and driving factors in income distribution and poverty in 21 OECD member countries [including Canada] analysing separately the working- and the retirement-age populations.

- compares and contrasts national experiences (overall trends in income distribution over time and related factors, the distributive impact of transfers, the role of employment polarisation, trends at the bottom of the income distribution) and provides a brief summary of trends and the most likely explanations of what has been happening.

- includes information about the measurement of income poverty and income inequality

- over half of the 168 pages of this report are statistics.

Source : OECD Statistics

Also from the OECD:

Measures of Material Deprivation in OECD Countries (PDF file - 808K, 71 pages)
August 2006
By Romina Boarini and Marco Mira d'Ercole
Poverty is a complex issue, and a variety of approaches are required for its measurement and analysis. While monetary measures of income poverty are widespread, a long-standing tradition relies on non-monetary measures, based on either the respondent’s self-assessment of their own conditions or on measures of ownership of consumer goods and living standards. Measures of material deprivation fall into this latter category. These measures rest on shared judgments about which items are more important to provide a "decent" living standard, irrespective of people’s preferences and of their capacity to afford these items. (...) This paper discusses the use of material deprivation measures for an analysis of poverty in OECD countries [including Canada - text and bolding added].

Source:
OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers <===links to 45 more papers!
[ Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs ]
[ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD ]

Measuring the Progress of Societies:
World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy

The project on "Measuring the Progress of Societies"- is hosted by the OECD and run in collaboration with other international and regional partners - it seeks to become the world wide reference point for those who wish to measure, or assess, the progress of their societies.

The project has been built around a series of World Forums and encompasses associated work within and outside of the OECD. Read more. The last World Forum was held on 27-30 June 2007 in Istanbul and focused on "Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies".
Source:
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

Measuring the Progress of Societies
Newsletter - Issue 1
- March 2008 (PDF - 932K, 10 pages)
Table of contents:
* Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative
* On the Right track : Canadian Index of Well-Being (by Roy J. Romanow)
* Measuring and Fostering the Progress of African Societies
* Conference on Gross National Happiness
* Highlights
* Wikigender - "...a project initiated by the OECD Development Centre to facilitate the exchange and improve the knowledge about gender-related issues around the world. A special focus of this project is to collect empirical evidence and to identify adequate statistics and measurement tools of gender equality."

Romanow article on the Canadian Index of Well-Being (March 2008)

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been very active in the months since the Second World Forum on 'Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies' that took place in Istanbul in June 2007. Following on the heels of the success of the keynote plenary speech given by The Honourable Roy J. Romanow, he is pleased to have an article in the first issue of the OECD’s “Measuring the Progress of Societies” newsletter published in March 2008 (See the link below). This is an important opportunity to share what is happening around the world to advance overall societal progress. Commitment to measuring and fostering genuine progress is highlighted on four continents in this first issue.
Source:
CIW e-bulletin - August 2008
[ Canadian Index of Well-Being ]
NOTE: there's no online version of this newsletter, but you can
subscribe directly on the home page to receive each issue by email

Measuring the Progress of Societies Newsletter (PDF - 929K, 10 page

Istanbul World Forum - Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies

United Nations Development Programme

UNDP Poverty Home Page
Poverty Concepts and Poverty Lines
Poverty : Indicators Statistics and Measurement
- incl. links to: Development Indicators - Gender Dimensions - Measurement and Assessments - Poverty Indicators - Poverty Research - Sustainable Livelihoods

Human Development Report and Index
 (incl. links to current year and reports back to 1990)

What is poverty? Concepts and measures (PDF file - 351K, 24 pages)
December 2006
In this issue of IPC’s journal Poverty in Focus we present ten articles intended to throw light on the question of how best to define and measure poverty.

Poverty in Focus - links to nine earlier editions of this journal, going back to January 2004

Source:
United Nations Development Programme


The Human Development Index and
The Human Poverty Index

Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI) is the normalized measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standard of living, and GDP per capita for countries worldwide. It is a standard means of measuring human development, i.e. the well-being, especially child welfare. It is used to determine and indicate whether a country is a developed, developing, or underdeveloped country. It is also used to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life.[1]

 

Human Poverty Index
The Human Poverty Index is an indication of the standard of living in a country, developed by the United Nations (UN). For highly developed countries, the UN considers that it can better reflect the extent of deprivation compared to the Human Development Index

Source:
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU)
University of York

England

Measurement of Absolute Poverty
Research Summary

In November 1998 the Eurostat Statistical Programme Committee discussed the subject of poverty statistics and delegates requested that the subject of absolute poverty be investigated. The work began in January 2000 and the final report is due in September 2000. At the bottom of the short project description on the linked page, you'll find an e-mail link to Jonathan Bradshaw (one of the principal researchers in this project) for more information.


World Bank

The Developing World Is Poorer Than We Thought,
But No Less Successful in the Fight against Poverty
(PDF - 193K, 46 pages)
By Shaohua Chen and Martin Ravallion
August 2008
The paper presents a major overhaul to the World Bank’s past estimates of global poverty, incorporating new and better data. Extreme poverty—as judged by what “poverty” means in the world’s poorest countries—is found to be more pervasive than we thought. Yet the data also provide robust evidence of continually declining poverty incidence and depth since the early 1980s. For 2005 we estimate that 1.4 billion people, or one quarter of the population of the developing world, lived below our international line of $1.25 a day in 2005 prices; 25 years earlier there were 1.9 billion poor, or one half of the population.

Key Findings (PDF - 95K, 5 pages)
Source:
Poverty and Inequality
[ Policy Research Working Papers ]

World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World
Article
August 26, 2008
* World Bank poverty estimates strengthened by better cost-of-living data
* 400 million more people live in poverty than earlier thought
* Developing world still on track to halve poverty from its 1990 levels by 2015
* Wide regional differences seen in poverty reduction trends

Related links:

World Bank Counts More Poor People
New Figure Represents Change in Methods, Not in Fortunes

August 27, 2008
Source:
Washington Post

Luxembourg Income Study
The Luxembourg Income Study is an ongoing cooperative research project (started in 1983) with a membership that includes 25 countries on four continents: Europe, America, Asia and Oceania.


For links to poverty measures in Canada,
go to the Canadian Social Research Links Canadian Poverty Measures page

For links to social program statistics for Canada and other countries,
go to the Canadian Social Research Links Social Statistics page

For info on asset-based approaches to social policy,
see the Canadian Social Research Links Asset-Based Social Policies Links page




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