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Building a Consumption Poverty Measure: Initial Results Following Recommendations of a Federal Interagency Working Group

Grayson Armstrong, Caleb Cho, Thesia I Garner, Brett Matsumoto, Juan Munoz, and Jake Schild


Consumption is a well-being measure that is determined by a combination of resources (e.g., income, in-kind benefits, assets, debt, time) available households, their circumstances, and their preferences. In this study, we derive consumption poverty statistics using a consumption measure that includes the flow of services from owner occupied housing and vehicles and in-kind transfers. The base data are from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey Interview from 2015 through 2020.  The consumption poverty rate (using an absolute threshold anchored to the 2015 relative consumption poverty rate) declines from 16.8 percent in 2015 to 11.5 percent in 2020.