New Poverty Measure Ranks Latinos as Poorest Americans

The U.S. Census Bureau’s new way of measuring poverty won’t replace the government’s official method. But it does control for geography and includes living costs, medical expenses and other data not factored into the official rate. Latinos are the poorest Americans according to the new measure, with poverty at 28.2 percent. African Americans are the poorest Americans under the official, older rate.

The result [of the new measure]? There are even more poor people in the U.S. than previously counted, and more of them are Latino, Asian, and foreign-born. Latinos make up the biggest group of the poor under the new measure, compared with black Americans, still the poorest as counted by the official measure…

The report notes that the Census Bureau data doesn’t explain why the poverty rates for Latinos and other ethnic groups change when the alternative measure is used. However, a footnote mentions that Latinos are less likely to have health insurance, thus spending more on out-of-pocket medical costs, and that many tend to live in parts of the country where housing is more expensive, such as California.

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