Past Event

Evaluating the New Supplemental Poverty Rate Proposal

Past Event


Evaluating the New Supplemental Poverty Rate Proposal

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Evaluating the New Supplemental Poverty Rate Proposal

The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that it will develop a new supplemental poverty measure, based in part on a well-known 1995 report from the National Academy of Sciences. The current poverty measure has been strongly criticized by experts from all points on the political spectrum because it ignores billions of dollars in family income, including government benefits that are specifically designed to help low-income families. Critics also point out that the country is using a poverty threshold that does not reflect the increase in basic living standards over time.

On May 6, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings, in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau and the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, held an event to discuss the new supplemental measure and its implications for families and policymakers. Rebecca Blank, undersecretary of Commerce for economic affairs, gave the opening remarks and David Johnson of the Census Bureau provided an overview of the Bureau’s evolving work on the new measure. A panel of experts offered their analysis of the supplemental measure and the approach being taken by the Bureau.

After the presentations, speakers and panelists took questions from the audience.


Opening Comments




Mark Levitan

Director of Poverty Research, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity


Timothy M. Smeeding

Director, Institute for Research on Poverty, and A & S Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics; Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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