New Poverty Measure to Support Effective Strategies to Combat Poverty

July 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Many experts agree that the Federal Poverty measurement, steeped in politics and antiquated methods, does not accurately reflect the true state of need in America.  When the cost of food was approximately one-third of a family budget back in the 1960s, it made sense to base poverty levels on this measure.  Health care, child care, housing and the increased need for continued education to compete in a complex global marketplace is what drives the lion’s share of the modern family budget.

The Commerce Department plans to develop a Supplemental Poverty Measure to provide a more accurate picture of poverty. This is a new opportunity for us quantify our impact on hunger and poverty relief.

We often talk about the tough choices families make to get by in Central Texas and how nutrition is compromised when bills need to be paid. Food banks can be considered the “canary in the coal mine,” providing timely evidence to elected officals and the community about families’ ability to meet their most basic needs.  While the new measure (scheduled to be released in Fall 2011) with the new Census results will not be used to determine funding or eligibility for government programs, it will help guide effective and comprehensive strategies to end hunger across the nation.

And as you can imagine, there’s been plenty of commentary including articles from Michael Laracy, Director of Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation,  Jodie Levin-Epstein, Deputy Director of the Center for Law and Social Policy,  Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation and Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post and Newsweek.

What do you think about the new measure for poverty?

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