Measuring Poverty in the U.S.

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Dr. Roberta Iversen
Associate Professor, School of Social Policy and Practice
University of Pennsylvania

• Dr. Iversen is an expert in low-income families, the minimum wage, wage disparities, insufficient wages and the impact of job losses.
• She has researched low-income families on the brink of poverty in five major U.S. cities. Her studies conclude that nearly 25% of Americans who have two full-time working parents in the household do not earn enough to support their families.
• She is the author of “Jobs Aren’t Enough: Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-Income Families”

“This might be the first opportunity in decades to eliminate or reduce the current, totally inadequate poverty measure. Changing the measure is a political football because it will inevitably increase the number of people considered ‘in poverty.’ But, those people are out there anyway, suffering, and finally expressing themselves in the context of the economic downswing and the concurrent presidential campaigns. Sooner rather than later, the proposed measure should replace the current measure that public program eligibility and the distribution of federal funds are based on current, rather than outdated, family-life and employment realities. Only with this step, in addition to a replacement poverty measure, will Congress’ goal of cutting poverty in half over the next 10 years have chance.”