Measuring Poverty: Why It Matters, & What Should & Should Not Be Done About It

An administrative proposal to artificially lower the poverty line is “technically questionable, economically unwise, and morally troubling” according to Indi Dutta-Gupta’s testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform. Over time, this change would harm millions of people by taking away their access to foundational support programs—including Medicaid and SNAP. His testimony emphasized the proposal’s inevitable harmful impacts, highlighted the proposal’s questionable assumptions about people experiencing poverty, and underscored the need to reform the poverty measurement to improve its accuracy and usefulness for the federal government and the many other stakeholders who rely on it.