Forty Years is Enough

Promising Alternatives to the Antiquated Poverty Measure

Despite advances in the field, the mechanics of drawing the national poverty line have not been significantly altered for forty years. Each September the Census Bureau releases its official calculation of the national poverty line and enumeration of the poor, intended to reflect the extent of economic hardship in the United States. The once-useful metric has, unfortunately, not worn well. Today the official poverty measure provides an incomplete and inaccurate representation of the poor.

This panel featured two pioneers of the field, whose work highlights alternative measures of economic hardship that focus on assets, self reliance, and social protection.


New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Ave., NW 7th Floor
Washington, DC, 20009
See map: Google Maps


  • Joan Kuriansky
    Executive Director, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)

  • Carl Rist
    Program Director, Corporation for Enterprise Development