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Why We Need to Measure Poverty Differently

The current formula we use to calculate where the "poverty line" lies has some fundamental flaws. Back when this poverty measure was first...


The current formula we use to calculate where the "poverty line" lies has some fundamental flaws. Back when this poverty measure was first developed, food was about a third of a family's budget. So the government took the cost of a bare bones food diet and multiplied it by three. And this measure hasn't been updated since.But in the meantime, the cost of food has shrunk to one seventh of a family's budget as the cost of housing and healthcare have risen. So multiplying a family's food budget by three underestimates how much money they'd need. Currently, the poverty line for a family of four is about $22,000 a year.This is bad because it excludes lots of impoverished people from the official number of those "in poverty," making it hard to confront the size of the problem.The Center for American Progress has launched a campaign to update the poverty measure. You can see an expert of theirs explain that and other problems with the current poverty measure in this video:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CByOczvH7z4There's more about their campaign to create a supplemental poverty measure here.