Experimental Poverty Measures Under Alternative Treatments of Medical Out‐of‐Pocket Expenditures: An Application of the Consumer Expenditure Survey

Kathleen S. Short and Thesia I. Garner


This paper presents experimental poverty measures that update those presented in Current Population Report, P60-216, "Experimental Poverty Measures: 1999". Estimates for 2000 are presented and compared with the official measure. In this paper we emphasize the difference in two of the measures that use Consumer Expenditure (CE) data to estimate medical out-of-pocket expenses. Poverty rates, poverty gaps, and income-to-poverty-threshold ratios are computed and compared across poverty measures for various subgroups, particularly children and the aged. Results show that alternate methods of measuring medical expenses affect our perception of the relative incidence of poverty, the depth of poverty experienced by these groups, and the number of people who are classified in extreme poverty (those with family income below one-half of the poverty threshold).