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The Supplemental Poverty Measure using the American Community Survey

Written by:
Working Paper Number 2020-09

The Census Bureau annually releases Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) estimates using data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC). However, since the Census Bureau recommends the use of the American Community Survey (ACS) for poverty estimates for sub-national geographic units, it is important to explore how the SPM can be estimated from ACS data. The challenge in this endeavor is that the ACS is missing a number of key data elements required to produce SPM estimates, including some program participation data, the value of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, taxes paid and credits received, child care expenses, medical out of pocket expenditures and detailed relationship data. This paper explores how these data limitations might be overcome and extends previous research at the Census Bureau on a methodology to produce SPM estimates using ACS data. This analysis provides the first set of national and state level estimates of the SPM derived from the ACS for the years 2014 to 2017. This paper has two main purposes. The first is to lay out in detail the methodology used to create the ACS SPM and how this methodology differs from the CPS ASEC SPM. The second is to present and discuss ACS SPM results by state and over time, evaluate how individual elements affect the ACS SPM, and compare the ACS SPM to the ACS OPM and the CPS ASEC SPM.

In addition to the working paper, we are publishing tables and data sets for 10 years - 2009 to 2019.

Tables and Datasets updated on 10/21/21. Estimates do not match working paper.


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Page Last Revised - October 21, 2021
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