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Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States

Published: 02/25/2015

The Annie E. Casey Foundation just released Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States, a KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot that discusses how the Supplemental Poverty Measure is a better alternative to track the progress toward ensuring that children have greater access to opportunity.

The official poverty measure is based on a formula created five decades ago and does not take into account critical factors that affect families such as inflation and cost-of-living differences between localities. To better understand how children and their families are faring, the U.S. Census Bureau created a Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) in 2011. The SPM measures the impact of a number of important social programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and other changes that affect a family’s budget. Using new state-level data that has never been released before, Measuring Access to Opportunity reports that in every state, anti-poverty programs tracked by the SPM have led to a reduction in the child poverty rate.

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