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Change Current Poverty Standards

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Well Being In the Nation Network

The formula that measures the poverty level has not changed since 1965. It is based on how much money Americans spent on food in 1955. The formula is updated annually based on inflation. American spending has changed since then. Americans spend less income on food now, and more on child care, transportation, and housing. Eligibility for federal assistance programs, like housing, health care, child care, utility and food programs, is based on this federal poverty measure. The formula should be updated to reflect how we live today. The formula should also be updated to account for differences in the cost of living in different parts of the country.

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Advancing Equitable Economies Policy Library
Published on 04/20/2021