Chart Detail

Comparison of poverty measures

Official poverty measure Supplemental Poverty Measure
Threshold Equal to three times the cost of “Economy Food Plan” Equal to the 33rd percentile of expenditures on food, clothing, shelter, and utilities of consumer units with exactly two children, multiplied by 1.2
Adjusted annually by change in the Consumer Price Index Adjusted annually by the five-year moving average of expenditures on food, clothing, shelter, and utilities
No geographic adjustment Geographic adjustments for differences in housing costs
Resources included as income Total family pretax cash income Total family after-tax income (including credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit)
Includes value of near-cash benefits, such as SNAP, National School Lunch Program, WIC, housing subsidies, and LIHEAP
Subtracts work-related expenses, such as child care and transportation costs
Subtracts medical out-of-pocket expenses and child support paid

Note: SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and LIHEAP is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Source: Authors' analysis of Short (2011)

Updated July 9, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Table is adapted from Short (2011), “Resource Estimates” table.

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