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Tomorrow’s Poverty Numbers Will Help Measure Strength of Safety Net

The Census Bureau will release poverty statistics tomorrow that will allow us to determine how well the safety net reduced poverty in 2013.  Our analysis of figures released last year showed that the safety net cut the poverty rate nearly in half in 2012, from 29.1 percent to 16.0 percent (see graph).


Tomorrow’s figures are based on Census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure, which includes not only cash income but also non-cash benefits such as food assistance and rental subsidies as well as tax-based assistance such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.  The official poverty measure counts only cash income.  (Census released 2013 figures using the official measure in September; here’s our analysis.)

We’ll update this chart tomorrow with the 2013 numbers.  We’ll also examine the antipoverty impact of individual programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps), working-family tax credits, and rent subsidies.