"A difference of one percentage point in the overall poverty rate is no big deal. But the new Supplemental Poverty Measure, or S.P.M., developed by the Census Bureau, which yields the slightly higher overall estimate, shows lower rates of poverty among children and higher rates among the elderly than the traditional measure. An estimate based on a measure similar to the S.P.M. suggests that poverty has increased less over time.
Shawn Fremstad of the Center for Economic and Policy Priorities effectively details these shortcomings. But like others who acknowledge the S.P.M.’s limitations, including Arloc Sherman of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and Heidi Hartmann of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, he agrees that it provides important new information."