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Unmasking Progress in the Fight against Poverty

Many well-known and well-documented flaws with the U.S.’s official poverty measure, including a narrow, error-ridden measure of resources and a biased adjustment for inflation, make it a poor indicator of changes in material deprivation over time. The official poverty measure suggests that the poverty rate is the same today as it was 40 years ago. In reality, poverty has declined significantly over this period, but this progress is rarely recognized. Our poverty dashboard shows how simple corrections of the well-known flaws in the official poverty measure result in a very different story about how poverty has changed over time.