A report released February 25, 2015 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that the federal government's official poverty measure created in the 1960s uses outdated information on how U.S. families are faring today, failing to illustrate the effect of programs designed to help them.
The new KIDS COUNT® Data Snapshot, Measuring Access to Opportunity, points to a better index for measuring the effectiveness of social programs designed to reduce poverty – the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).
This measure has two rates; the first is designed to capture the effect of safety net programs (Social Security, food assistance, housing subsidies, etc.) and tax policies (EITC, etc.) on families. The second does not take into account these programs or policies.
By using the SPM, researchers have determined that the rate of children in poverty in Missouri is at 15 percent instead of 30 percent because of these programs and policies.
"It is great to know that these programs and policies are improving children's lives," said Wendell E. Kimbrough, chief executive officer of Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS). "The next step is to better maximize the success of these activities and interrupt future generational cycles of poverty. ARCHS' early childhood, after school, and adult job training programs are additional investments that are putting vulnerable children and their families on better pathways to opportunity."
Missouri SPM data highlights include:
- According to the SPM (2011-2013) 218,000 Missouri children have been lifted out of poverty due to federal anti-poverty programs and initiatives (cash/non trash transfers).
- According to the SPM (2011-2013), Missouri's poverty rate was 30% without cash/non-cash transfers (i.e., not taking into account federal anti-poverty programs and initiatives). The U.S. percentage of poverty without transfers was 33%.
- According to the SPM (2011-2013), Missouri's poverty rate was 15% with cash/non-cash transfers (i.e., taking into account federal anti-poverty programs and initiatives). The U.S. percentage of poverty with transfers was 18%.
The Missouri Family and Community Trust (FACT), is the official Annie E. Casey (AECF) KIDS COUNT® partner in Missouri. FACT promotes and supports collaboration and innovation in service delivery for Missouri's children and families through its network of 20 "community partnerships" around the state. Area Resources for Community and Human Services (ARCHS) is the St. Louis region's state designated community partnership.
As St. Louis' KIDS COUNT® partner, ARCHS designs, manages, and evaluates 15 education and social service programs provided at more than 275 locations that annually improve the lives of more than 90,000 of the St. Louis region's most vulnerable children and their family members (FY2014 data).
Download PDF of National SPM Data Report