by David Gray
New data released Thursday shows that federal anti-poverty programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also called food stamps) and unemployment insurance are lifting thousands of Louisiana families above the poverty line.
The new data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and is called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). It is a different – some say, more accurate – way of measuring poverty. Unlike the official federal poverty measure, the supplemental figure accounts for the effects of major non-cash benefits, such as rent subsidies, tax credits and food stamps. The SPM also subtracts expenses like payroll taxes, child care costs and out-of-pocket medical expenses from family incomes.
Using these measurements, Louisiana’s poverty rate falls to 18.3 percent, compared to 20.6 percent using the traditional poverty measure. That translates to 104,000 fewer Louisianans in poverty. Continue reading…