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Census Poverty Data For Communities: Alternatives

Supplemental Poverty Measure

The Supplemental Poverty Measure is an experimental poverty measure that looks at non-cash resources (subsidized housing, Food Stamps, etc.) not included in the current formulation. It also includes expenses not included in the original Orshansky formula, such as housing costs -- extremely important for California in general, and the Bay Area in particular. At this point, it does not replace the official poverty measure and will not be used to determine eligibility for government programs. The map in the box below is from Dueling Measures of Poverty from Pew Charitable Trusts and shows that California's poverty rate is 23.4% with the alternative measure -- rather than 16% with the official measure.

Big Difference for California!

Relative Poverty Measure

The official poverty measure is an "absolute" measure -- meaning it doesn't change over time, other than to adjust for inflation. This allows for comparisons over time, but doesn't take into account changes in the overall society’s patterns of consumption or changes in what is considered an adequate standard of living. Another approach is to use a “relative” measure. This counts the number of people who have less than a certain percentage of the median income in a given area (30% of median income is often considered extremely low income, 50% of median is very low income). These statistics can also be used by agencies and advocacy groups within a geographic area to determine need or eligibility for services.

Homeless Youth in California

From the reportIn California’s 2015 PIT count, 11,365 children and youth were counted as “unsheltered, unaccompanied,” i.e., found to be residing places not meant for human habitation—such as cars, busses, parks, abandoned buildings, or train stations. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 made up the vast majority of this count at 10,532. This number has increased by 8 percent since 2013 and by 87 percent since 2011. There are also substantial numbers of unaccompanied minors identified each year. This year, 834 unaccompanied minors were found to be living unsheltered across California. 

Comparison

http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-251.pdf

Other Child Well-being Data

Child Statistics Data Center
Helpful information about who produces what data including demographics, economics, health care, physical environment, education, behavior and health of children in the US.

KidsData.org

Focused on California communities, from the Lucile Packard Foundation -- great compilation of health and other well-being indicators. Unique data on homelessness.

Child Trends Databank
Child Trends is a nonprofit, non-partisan research center offering research and statistics on child well-being, including statistics on poverty, child welfare, education, parenting, and a number of other issues related to children and families.

Child welfare dynamic report system
Collaboration of California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley. Presents detailed, dynamically-generated statistics on child welfare cases, outcomes, services, and more.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Rich website with statistics and research on many key child welfare issues, including child and family well-being, child abuse and neglect, foster care and adoption, and child welfare outcomes. Also provides links to policies, law, reports and analyses on child welfare issues.

Kids Count Data Center
Produced by Annie E. Casey Foundation. Data Center allows dynamically-generated statistics by state and some smaller geographies such as city and congressional district. Includes publications and other resources.

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