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Related Resources

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ARTICLE_DATE August, 06 2008 00:01:00
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ARTICLE_TEXT <p>The federal government's <a href="http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&amp;id=2195897">definition of poverty</a>&nbsp;dates back more than 45 years.&nbsp;&nbsp;Reflecting the limited&nbsp;statistical&nbsp;data&nbsp;of that time, it was built on government nutritional criteria.&nbsp; A game first effort, it's been indexed for inflation but has never evolved.<br /><br />Given the human and societal costs of poverty, we need a <a href="http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_752.html">better measure</a> than we currently have to identify who needs assistance and what kind of assistance.&nbsp; The <a href="http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4759&amp;page=1">National Academy of Sciences</a>, for instance, has a proposed approach.&nbsp; The <a href="http://www.epi.org/printer.cfm?id=3015&amp;content_type=1&amp;nice_name=webfeatures_snapshots_20080702">NAS approach</a>&nbsp;would&nbsp;posit far more poor persons than &quot;official&quot; measurements.<br /><br />Another subjective approach to an objective goal is the <a href="http://www.sixstrategies.org/sixstrategies/selfsufficiencystandard.cfm">Self-Sufficiency Standard</a>.&nbsp; Unlike the federal standard, this guideline accounts for the costs of living and working as they vary by family size and composition and by geographic location.&nbsp; A possible drawback is that the Standard assumes that all adults (whether single or married) work full-time.&nbsp; Self-Suffiency Standards have been developed for a number of states, including <a href="http://www.sixstrategies.org/includes/productviewdetailsinclude.cfm?productID=434&amp;strProductType=resource">Missouri.<br /></a><br />So while nobody's too happy about where we are, there's not a lot of movement and consensus about where we should be in terms of quantifying this important issue.</p>
ARTICLE_TITLE Can You Have A Guideline Without a Guide?
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Business

Can You Have A Guideline Without a Guide?

The federal government's definition of poverty dates back more than 45 years.  Reflecting the limited statistical data of that time, it was built on government nutritional criteria.  A game first effort, it's been indexed for inflation but has never evolved.

Given the human and societal costs of poverty, we need a better measure than we currently have to identify who needs assistance and what kind of assistance.  The National Academy of Sciences, for instance, has a proposed approach.  The NAS approach would posit far more poor persons than "official" measurements.

Another subjective approach to an objective goal is the Self-Sufficiency Standard.  Unlike the federal standard, this guideline accounts for the costs of living and working as they vary by family size and composition and by geographic location.  A possible drawback is that the Standard assumes that all adults (whether single or married) work full-time.  Self-Suffiency Standards have been developed for a number of states, including Missouri.

So while nobody's too happy about where we are, there's not a lot of movement and consensus about where we should be in terms of quantifying this important issue.


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