There’s some good news and some bad news about poverty in America.
First, the bad: Poverty rates are higher than previously thought in 13 states and D.C. The good? Poverty rates are lower in 28 other states.
Those are the findings of a new Census report out this week that seeks to better measure poverty. Here’s why: The official poverty rate ignores some important costs and benefits confronted by the poor. Poverty can be offset, for example, by government assistance in the form of food stamps, subsidized housing and home energy assistance. At the same time, it can be made worse by factoring in necessary costs such as taxes, child care, work-related expenses and medical costs.