Impressionistic Realism

David S. Johnson

in Counting the Poor

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860586
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932948 | DOI:

Series: International Policy Exchange Series

Impressionistic Realism

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This chapter places research carried out for this section of the volume in the perspective of US attempts to measure poverty as well as work carried out at the Census Bureau to implement an improved poverty measure. This section of the book considers additional noncash resources available to individuals. These are important for the construction of a more complete measure of resources for use in poverty and inequality analysis. In many cases, the details do not change our picture of the trend in poverty, or even the comparisons across countries, but they often change the composition of the poor. It is stated that the Census Bureau has constructed alternative measures of poverty for the United States, which include either the same or similar adjustments to those considered in this section of the book. However, when many of these adjustments are made to the measure of resources available to individuals, they do not alter rankings of the extent of inequality across countries or change trends in poverty over time. Thus, a reasonable question is whether the aim should be to have total detail or an approximation of what is happening.

Keywords: poverty measures; Census Bureau; noncash resources; inequality analysis

Chapter.  3719 words. 

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