Report: Child Poverty Falls to Record Low, Comprehensive Measure Shows Stronger Government Policies Account for Long-Term Improvement

By: By Isaac Shapiro and Danilo Trisi
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

Published: October 5, 2017

First paragraph of report:
The child poverty rate fell to a record low of 15.6 percent in 2016, a little more than half its 1967
level of 28.4 percent. This finding emerges from a new poverty series we have developed that
combines the Census Bureau’s poverty data for 2016 with long-term poverty data compiled by
Columbia University researchers. The new poverty series relies on the federal government’s
Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a comprehensive yardstick that most analysts believe
provides a more accurate assessment of the resources available to low-income households to meet
basic needs than the “official” poverty measure does. That’s because the SPM counts the income that
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp
Program), rental subsidies, and other federal non-cash benefits and refundable tax credits provide,
while the “official” poverty measure ignores such benefits.

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