Now a fuller picture of what it means to be poor in America.
For years, the Census Bureau’s official measurement of poverty has often been characterized as inadequate. One month after releasing official numbers, the Census Bureau offered a new unofficial count today that looked at the poor through a different lens.
It found there are approximately 49 million people living at or below the poverty line. That’s about 16 percent of the population, or roughly one out of every six people, and 2.5 million more than counted just last month. That’s just one of the changes. The government also assessed in a new way how income and living expenses affect all this.
We round out the picture now with Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families, where, among other things, he follows poverty, inequality and welfare policy. And Heidi Hartmann is president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a policy research organization focused on women and the economy.
And, Heidi Hartmann, for years, people have complained about the old poverty line and how we arrive at it, basically taking the cost of food and people’s incomes and coming up with a formula. This adds a lot more data into the determination. Is it a better picture of who is poor in the country?