A New Statistic: The US Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure


This article examines the dynamic relationship between macroeconomic performance and measures of poverty in the United States. The article is organized as follows. Section 2 presents insights on the relationship between poverty and macroeconomic performance that emerge from the literature. The emphasis is on empirical studies from 1986 to 2011. Section 3 provides a snapshot of the change in poverty over National Bureau of Economic Research-dated recessions for a variety of poverty measures. Section 4 uses vector autoregressions (VARs) to characterize the response of poverty to innovations in various social indicators and measures of macroeconomic performance. Section 5 expands the empirical analysis to include alternative measures of poverty—a consumption-based poverty rate constructed by Meyer and Sullivan (2010) and an income-based poverty rate constructed by Broda and colleagues (2009) by using a consumer price index that has been adjusted for substitution and quality bias. Section 6 conducts a forecasting exercise for income poverty and consumption poverty. Section 7 concludes and offers suggestions for future research

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