Now more than ever: We can’t count fewer people in poverty!


April 6, 2020

Right now, the Trump administration is trying to change the way poverty is measured so fewer people are counted. They claim there really aren’t as many people living in poverty as we think; we’re just measuring poverty wrong. They’re asking for public comment on their proposal to change the way poverty is measured by April 14.

But in the midst of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposal can’t be adequately addressed by the deadline. Changing the way poverty is defined under these circumstances is a bad idea: The poverty measure allows for research to show the extent of poverty and leads to standards used to determine who gets benefits like food assistance, housing vouchers, health benefits, and more.

So, we are asking for your help. Click here to comment and tell the Trump administration two things:  

  1. The deadline must be extended. Academic poverty researchers and anti-poverty service providers alike cannot meet this deadline while struggling to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
  2. The current poverty measure understates the extent of hardship, and alternate approaches that count fewer people as poor would make the measurement of poverty far less accurate.  This matters – policy choices to reduce poverty depend on a realistic look at who is poor.  And ultimately, this may lead to fewer people being eligible for services, despite real need.

We’ve made it easy for you to comment! Please click here to submit a comment today.

Redefining poverty