U.S. Census Bureau
 Poverty Measurement Studies and  Alternative Measures


Since the development of the current official poverty measure in the 1960's by Mollie Orshansky there have been a series of studies and reviews of the conceptual and technical elements that make up the measure. These studies produced a large number of technical working papers and reports that address the important measurement issues that are still being discussed by researchers and policy makers today.

Documents from four of those reviews are presented here, including technical papers from the Poverty Studies Task Force 1976 Report, Technical Papers from the early 1980's and the Williamsburg Conference in 1985, the 1995 report from the National Academy of Sciences review, and more recent discussions at the American Enterprise Institute.

For a more detailed history of the official poverty measure see The Development of the Orshansky Poverty Thresholds and Their subsequent History as the Official U.S. Poverty Measure by Gordon M. Fisher.

Contact the Demographic Call Center Staff at 301-763-2422 or 1-866-758-1060 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov for further information on Poverty Measurement Research Data.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division