Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 1 (Winter 1998)


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Has Poverty Gotten Worse?

Article Citation

Triest, Robert K. 1998. "Has Poverty Gotten Worse?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(1): 97-114.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.1.97


The official U.S. government figures showed an increase in the poverty rate from 11.1 percent in 1973 to 13.8 percent in 1995. However, some maintain that this upward trend is due to defects in the official poverty measure. This paper analyzes alternative measures of poverty and concludes that nearly all reasonable alternatives show similar trends in poverty over the recent past. There has been an increase in the percentage of people in the United States who are poor, although one can argue that the official Census figures either understate or somewhat overstate the increase.

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Triest, Robert K. (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)

JEL Classifications

I31: General Welfare


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