The Division of Price and Index Number Research (DPINR), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), released the 2017 Research Experimental Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) thresholds on September 11, 2018. The SPM is meant to provide an alternative perspective for examining poverty and is, therefore, meant to complement rather than replace the official poverty measure (see the Census Bureau website for the most recent official poverty statistics). The SPM is a work in progress and is expected to incorporate improvements over time. A time series of Research Experimental SPM thresholds and details regarding their derivation are available at https://www.bls.gov/pir/spmhome.htm.
As seen in the chart below, the 2017 Research Experimental SPM thresholds for consumer units with two adults with two children are $27,085 for owners with mortgages, $27,005 for renters, and $23,261 for owners without mortgages, as compared to the official poverty threshold of $24,858. Research Experimental SPM thresholds for owners with mortgages are statistically significantly different from those for owners without mortgages at the 1 percent level; the same result holds when thresholds for renters and those for owners without mortgages are compared. Research Experimental SPM thresholds for owners with mortgages and those for renters are not statistically different from one another.
The second chart includes the 2017 BLS-DPINR Research Experimental SPM thresholds along with those from the previous year for comparison. As shown in the chart, the 2017 Research Experimental SPM thresholds are higher than those for 2016. When compared in threshold year dollars, the thresholds for 2017 are statistically significantly different than those for 2016 at the 1 percent level.
Last Modified Date: September 12, 2018