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Consensus Study Report
An Updated Measure of Poverty: (Re)Drawing the Line


An accurate measure of poverty is necessary to fully understand how the economy is performing across all segments of the population and to assess the effects of government policies on communities and families. In addition, poverty statistics are essential in determining the size and composition of the population whose basic needs are going unmet and to help society target resources to address those needs.

An Updated Measure of Poverty: (Re)Drawing the Line recommends updating the methodology used by the Census Bureau to calculate the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to reflect household basic needs. This report recommends that the more comprehensive SPM replace the current Official Poverty Measure as the primary statistical measure of poverty the Census Bureau uses. The report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the SPM and provides recommendations for updating its methodology and expanding its use in recognition of the needs of most American families such as medical care, childcare, and housing costs.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. An Updated Measure of Poverty: (Re)Drawing the Line. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

240 pages | 6 x 9 | Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-309-69739-2

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