New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today issued the following statement on the U.S. Census Bureau release of the Supplemental Federal Poverty Measure. The Bloomberg Administration pioneered this ground-breaking alternative to outdated federal poverty measure. The Census Bureau’s release mirrors New York City efforts.
“If we are going to successfully fight poverty, we need data that captures the challenges that poor households face as well as the benefits conveyed by our most significant government supports. Unfortunately, the Federal Poverty measure, made official in 1969 and unchanged since then, is sadly outdated and fails to paint an accurate picture of how people are truly living their lives today.
“In 2008, New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) developed a groundbreaking alternative poverty measure that shed a more informative light on poverty by accounting for the important role that tax credits and benefits, such as Food Stamps and housing subsidies, play in supporting low-income families. Today, the U.S. Census Bureau releases their poverty report using the new Supplemental Poverty Measure, which is based on the same method pioneered by CEO.
“The decision to adopt this measure is not one that was made lightly; we know that a greater proportion of the American people are poor under this Supplemental Measure and this is, of course, an attention-grabbing finding. But it is important to have a measure that can accurately tell us what’s going on and – especially in tough times – it is critical that we know what programs really help lift individuals and families out of poverty. The national adoption of this Supplemental Measure brings us one step closer to giving us the tools we need to fight this ongoing challenge.”