Press Releases | Inequality and Poverty

News from EPI Alternative Census estimates of poverty show effectiveness of social safety net

For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 6, 2011
Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, 202-775-8810

In 2009, 14.3% of Americans lived below the U.S. Census Bureau’s official poverty line. Yesterday, the Census Bureau released alternative estimates of poverty that take into account more factors than the official poverty measure, such as government programs, increasing medical costs and regional cost-of-living variations. A new issue brief by EPI researchers Kathryn Anne Edwards and Elise Gould explains how the alternative measures demonstrate not only the inadequacy of using the official poverty threshold to measure deprivation, but also the effectiveness and importance of the social safety net.