Social Science Quarterly - DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.12291
by Sophie Mitra, PhD* and Debra Brucker MPA, PhD
Abstract: Objectives – The objective of this study was to develop a poverty measure for the United States (U.S.) that is similar to those used on the international stage, where poverty is understood broadly as a deprivation of wellbeing across multiple dimensions rather than purely as a lack of income or other financial resources. Methods – Using Current Population Survey and American Community Survey data, this study develops a measure of the joint distribution of multiple deprivations in the U.S., in other words a measure of the extent to which different deprivations are experienced by the same individuals. Results - The experience of multiple deprivations affects 15 percent of Americans. An estimated 17.1 million Americans, 5.5% of the population, experience multiple deprivations while they are not income poor. The odds of experiencing multiple deprivations are significantly higher for Hispanics, immigrants and persons with disabilities. Conclusions - Income poverty is not a reliable proxy to measure multiple deprivations. Further measurement efforts are needed on overlapping multiple deprivations in the U.S. as such measures can be used in policy evaluation and monitoring.
- On the international stage, poverty is increasingly understood broadly as a deprivation of wellbeing across multiple dimensions rather than purely as a lack of income or other financial resources.
- A measure of multiple overlapping deprivations is developed for the United States.
- Multiple deprivations are not rare in the United States: they affect 15 percent of Americans.
- Income poverty cannot be used as a proxy for multiple deprivations.
- Measures of multiple deprivations can provide new insights for research and policy.
*Direct all correspondence to Sophie Mitra. Dr. Mitra will share all data and coding for replication email@example.com