Measuring Poverty at the State Level

Measuring Poverty at the State Level

In 1995, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that poverty in the United States be measured by a model that includes all types of income, rather than the official measure, created in the 1950s, which only includes cash income and national measure of need. The Urban Institute Low-Income Working Families project has issued a report that looks at the potential benefits of implementing the NAS measure to simulate the potential effects of alternative safety-net policies on poverty. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report, Measuring Poverty at the State Level (46 pages, PDF), used data from the 2006 American Community Survey on individuals in Minnesota and simulated several policies similar to those the state has considered. The simulation found that although each policy alone would have relatively little effect on poverty, a package of policies that recognizes the heterogeneity among the state's poverty population could be effective — information that could help inform policy makers working to draft poverty alleviation legislation.