Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2003. Economic Security Risk Factor 3. Experimental Poverty Measures

03/01/2003

Figure ECON 3. Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures, by Age: 2001

Percentage of Person in Povety Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures, by Age: 2001

Note: Alternative poverty measures used in this figure are defined in the note to Table ECON 3b.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-219, available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.

  • Three experimental measures of poverty (developed by the Census Bureau in response to the recommendation of a 1995 panel of the National Academy of Sciences) yield poverty rates that are similar to the official poverty measure overall, but differ by age and other characteristics.
  • Experimental measures generally show lower poverty rates among children than the official measure, partly because they take into account non-cash benefits that many children receive. Conversely, experimental measures show higher rates of poverty among the elderly than the official measure, in part due to the inclusion of certain out-of-pocket health costs in these measures.
  • All three measures shown in Figure Econ 3 take into account geographic adjustments (GA) in housing costs; the measures can also be calculated with no geographic adjustment (NGA), as shown in Tables ECON 3a and 3b. See note to Table ECON 3b.

Table ECON 3a. Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures, by Race/Ethnicity and Age: 2001

  Official Alt1 MSI-NGA Alt2 MIT-NGA Alt3 CMB-NGA Alt1 MSI-GA Alt2 MIT-GA Alt3 CMB-GA
See notes and source below.
All Persons 11.7 12.4 12.8 13.0 12.3 12.7 12.9
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 7.8 8.9 9.1 9.4 8.4 8.5 8.8
Black 22.7 21.3 22.1 22.2 20.8 21.7 21.8
Hispanic Origin 21.4 21.9 23.4 23.1 24.4 26.3 25.9
Age Categories
Children Ages 0-17 16.3 14.5 15.7 15.3 14.6 15.8 15.4
Adults Ages 18-64 10.1 10.7 11.4 11.3 10.8 11.5 11.3
Adults Age 65 and over 10.1 16.1 13.7 17.1 15.5 12.7 16.2

Table ECON 3b. Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures: 1999-2001

  1999 2000 2001
Note: Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. These experimental poverty measures implement changes recommended by a 1995 NAS panel, including: counting non-cash income as benefits; subtracting from income certain work-related, health, and child care expenses; and adjusting poverty thresholds for family size and geographic differences in housing costs. The three alternative measures are similar, except that each account for out-of-pocket medical expenses differently. For the first alternative (“MOOP subtracted from income” or MSI), medical out-of-pocket expenses (MOOP) are subtracted from income. The second alternative, (“MOOP in the threshold” or MIT) increases the poverty thresholds to take MOOP expenses into account. The third measure, CMB for combined methods, combines attributes of the previous two measures. Each of the three measures is calculated with and without accounting for geographic adjustments (GA and NGA). These experimental measures are different from those reported in last year’s report because the Census Bureau changed its methodology based on research conducted to refine the NAS panel’s experimental methods.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Poverty in the United States: 2001, Current Population Reports, Series P60-219, available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p60-219.pdfsuexxpov.html.
Official Measure 11.9 11.3 11.7
No Geographic Adjustment of Thresholds
Medical costs alternative 1 (MSI-NGA) 12.2 12.1 12.4
Medical costs alternative 2 (MIT-NGA) 12.8 12.7 12.8
Medical costs alternative 3 (CMB-NGA) 12.9 12.8 13.0
Geographic Adjustment of Thresholds
Medical costs alternative 1 (MSI-GA) 12.1 12.0 12.3
Medical costs alternative 2 (MIT-GA) 12.7 12.5 12.7
Medical costs alternative 3 (CMB-GA) 12.8 12.6 12.9

 

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