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Who is poor? How to measure poverty and why it matters Covering Suburban Poverty Reporting Institute Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 27 September 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Who is poor? How to measure poverty and why it matters Covering Suburban Poverty Reporting Institute Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 27 September 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Who is poor? How to measure poverty and why it matters Covering Suburban Poverty Reporting Institute Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 27 September 2013 Curtis Skinner Director of Family Economic Security

2 What is poverty? Science, values, ideology weigh in Does America really have a poverty problem? Were not Bangladesh Poor folks have a microwave,TV, car Poor folks made bad choices: school, work, marrying, having kids. Deserving poor. Good poverty reporting requires good responses

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4 Concepts of poverty Income poverty Absolute Relative Strengths and weaknesses Material hardship/consumption poverty Strengths and weaknesses Multidimensional deprivation Strengths and weaknesses

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7 Measuring suburban income poverty: Official vs. NAS-type scale

8 Measuring suburban income poverty: Other approaches Suffolk County Legislature, Welfare to Work Commission Report, 2012 Double the official poverty threshold: 20% of county residents poor, compared to 6% officially Basic Needs Budgets NCCP Basic Needs Budget Calculator Center for Womens Welfare, University of Washington, Self- Sufficiency Standard Economic Policy Institute, Basic Family Budget Calculator

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11 Data sources, suburbs Official poverty statistics American FactFinder NAS-type measures Institute for Research on Poverty, annual, county-level data for Wisconsin Stanford U. and Public Policy Institute of California, county-level data for California No other regularly updated, NAS-type measures for suburban areas; Census produces annual measure only for nation and states Income Poverty

12 Data sources, suburbs Basic Needs Budgets Basic Needs Budget Calculator, National Center for Children in Poverty (more than 100 metro areas and counties in 20 states, years vary) Self-Sufficiency Standard (all counties in 37 states and DC, years vary) EPI Basic Family Budget Calculator (615 communities; metro and rural areas, updated to 2013) Income Poverty (continued)

13 Data sources, suburbs Opportunity Index (many counties; 16 indicators in economic, education and community dimensions) KIDS COUNT Data Center (children only; counties and congressional districts in all states; hundreds of indicators in demographic, economic, education, family and community, health, and safety and risky behavior dimensions) Multidimensional deprivation

14 Data sources, suburbs Numerous academic studies; no widely-accepted and regularly updated measure available for local areas Bruce D. Meyer, University of Chicago, and James X. Sullivan, University of Notre Dame, are leading researchers Material deprivation/consumption poverty

15 FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact Curtis Skinner Visit NCCP website


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