Government agencies and others maintain a wealth of statistics
and data related to poverty. These links are a good place to
start for essential information on poverty measures at the
national, state, and local level, along with other fundamental
measures relating to poverty in the United States.
In 2011, the Census Bureau issued a paper that laid groundwork
for developing a new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) for the
This paper illustrate differences between the official
measure of poverty and a poverty measure that takes account of
in-kind benefits received by families and nondiscretionary
expenses that they must pay.
Prior to the publication of the Research Supplemental Poverty
Measure in 2011, the Census Bureau conducted a variety of
studies looking at how income distribution changes when the
definition of income is varied to include or
exclude different components.
Using income and household relationship data from the American
Community Surveys (ACS), the Census Bureau provides
unofficial estimates of the number and percentage of people
in poverty for sub-national levels of geography.
These Census Bureau report analyzes demographic and socioeconomic
characteristics of census tracts by categorizing the tracts based
on their poverty levels. Tracts with poverty rates of 20% or more
are considered “poverty areas”. Recent reports draw data
from the America Community Survey and older data come the the
Census long form.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to dramatic swings in the U.S.
labor market and major policy responses. In this time of crisis,
it is important to have the latest evidence on how these events
are affecting vulnerable populations so policymakers can respond
poverty dashboard provides near-real-time poverty
estimates using U.S. Census Bureau data. Authors are updating
this measure on a monthly basis as new data becomes available.