Revised Poverty Measure Shows Larger Number of Poor

A revised census measure released Wednesday shows that the number of poor people in the U.S. is three-million higher than the official count. Based on the revised formula - the number of poor people in 2012 was 49.7-million - or 16-percent - exceeding the record 46.5-million officially reported in September. Americans 65 and older had the largest increases in poverty under the revised formula - from 9.1-percent to 14.8-percent. This new measure doesn't replace the official government poverty formula - rather is aimed at providing a fuller picture of poverty. Put in place by the Obama Administration two years ago - the measure is considered more reliable by social scientists because it takes living expenses and the effects of government aid into account. But the official formula is used to allocate federal dollars to states and localities and to determine eligibility for safety net programs. Congress would have to agree to adopt the new measure in order for it to replace the official poverty formula.

These new numbers come on the heels of a cut in food stamp benefits and during farm bill negotiations where cuts to food stamps are a point of contention. Interestingly enough - other findings of the new poverty measure include that food stamps helped lift about five-million people above the poverty line. Without this aid - the findings show the overall poverty rate would increase from 16-percent to 17.6-percent.

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