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Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

Economic Well‐Being Based on Consumer Expenditures and Personal Assessments of Minimum Income and Minimum Spending

Thesia I. Garner

Abstract

Minimum income and spending data from the SIPP are used to ascertain levels of living using expenditure data from the CE. Thresholds are compared to the out-of-pocket spending by consumers for all items. This approach is new, as earlier studies compared income only to such thresholds. An additional analysis is conducted using the minimum spending thresholds in which actual out-of-pocket spending on food, shelter, clothing and other basic items is considered. Coefficients from SIPP regression-intersection estimations are applied to the characteristics of the CE sample to produce minimum income and minimum spending thresholds.Thresholds are produced for different consumer unit types as well as for different regions of the country, and for owners and renters. Personal assessment thresholds and results are compared to those based on official poverty thresholds and thresholds based on National Academy of Sciences Panel recommendations. Out-of-pocket expenditures serve as the basis for the resource measure rather than income.