Poverty Status and Income-to-Poverty Ratio

Number of People (millions)

Percent Distribution Within Category

People Not Poor Under Both Measures—continued

Current measure: income 150–200% of threshold

Proposed measure

Income 100–150% of threshold

11.75

5.6

Income 150–200% of threshold

9.41

4.5

Income 200% or more of threshold

2.37

1.1

Current measure: income 200% or more of threshold

Proposed measure

Income 100–150% of threshold

5.44

2.6

Income 150–200% of threshold

20.88

10.0

Income 200% or more of threshold

141.34

67.4

NOTE: The reference family (two-adult/two-child) threshold for the current measure is $14,228; for the proposed measure keeping the overall poverty rate constant, it is $13,175. The total U.S. population is 253.97 million.

are white and somewhat fewer poor people are black under the proposed measure. By ethnicity, somewhat more poor people are Hispanic under the proposed measure. The proposed measure also markedly reduces the proportion of poor people who are categorized as one-person families (either living alone or with others not related to them); this effect is largely due to the scale economy factor (see below).

The most significant effect of the proposed measure is on the proportions of poor people in families that receive welfare and in families with one or more workers. For families that receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), their share of the poverty population decreases from 40 to 30 percent. For families with workers, their share of the poverty population increases from 51 to 59 percent. The proposed measure also noticeably affects the proportion of poor people in families that lack health insurance; their share increases from 30 to 36 percent. Finally, the proposed measure alters the regional composition of the poverty population. The share of poor people who reside in the Northeast and West increases under the proposed measure, while the share of poor people who reside in the South and, to a lesser extent, the Midwest decreases.8

Another way to consider the differences in the current and proposed measures is to look at the poverty rates for various groups. While the overall poverty rate of 14.5 percent is the same under both the current and the proposed measures, the rates for some groups differ appreciably; see Table 5-7. Of

8  

See Table 5-3 for the states in each region.



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