Assessing progress in the fight against poverty requires consistent and accurate measures over time. CPSP’s work on historical poverty trends and measurement harnesses multiple Food Insecurity and Hunger data sources to document trends in poverty using the most sophisticated contemporary measures available. With these measures in hand, we can better understand the role of social policies in the lives of disadvantaged families. 


With funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and The JPB Foundation, our researchers have created a unique data set implementing the Census’ and Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Supplemental Poverty Measure back to 1967. This data set allows for more accurate measurement of poverty over time, and more critically the accurate assessment of the role of government policies and programs in reducing poverty.

Click here to download the historical SPM data and here to access state-level poverty estimates dating back to 1976.


Modeling a Universal Child Allowance

With funding from the Century Foundation, we have used the Supplemental Poverty Measure to model the potential effects of a universal child allowance on both poverty and deep poverty among children. To read the full report, click here.


Elderly Poverty & Assets

The elderly have much higher poverty rates under the new Supplemental Poverty Measure than under official statistics. But the SPM does not account for the likely substantial assets that many older Americans can use to meet their expenses in retirement. With funding from the Steven H. Sandell Grant Program at Boston College, we have incorporated assets into the measurement of elderly poverty in order to re-assess poverty levels and recent trends.

To read the working paper, click here.


Mapping State-Level SPM, OPM and Relative Poverty

This research brief compares state-level poverty rates under three different definitions of poverty - the official rate, the new Supplemental Poverty Measure, and a relative poverty rate more commonly used in other advanced democracies.


Child Poverty During the Recession

With funding from UNICEF, CPSP co-Director Christopher Wimer and Timothy Smeeding have reanalyzed recent trends in child poverty before, during, and after the Great Recession in the United States. These findings will be incorporated into a volume published by Oxford University Press in spring of 2017.