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Poor Measurement for Poverty

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As we move deeper into the current recession, the number of poor Americans is rising. Poverty data arrives with a lag; we won’t know the 2008 poverty rate until August, 2009. But poverty and unemployment are closely linked, and unemployment has been rising rapidly. More than 11 million Americans currently report they are unemployed. That means the number of families with seriously reduced income is growing.

Unfortunately, even when the poverty data arrives, we will be missing key information needed to understand who’s poor and who isn’t. And, if the stimulus legislation under consideration in Congress is adopted, it could play a significant role in helping low-income families, but the official measure of poverty won’t do a very good job of reflecting the impacts of these policies.

Read more here.


To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Beatriz Lopez (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.741.6255 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Rafael Medina
202.478.5313 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or