The Division of Price and Index Number Research (DPINR), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), released the 2021 Research Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) thresholds on June 1st, 2022. These thresholds incorporate the changes approved by the ITWG SPM on September 30, 2020, described on the main DPINR SPM webpage. 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 published by the Census Bureau. The SPM is a work in progress and is expected to incorporate improvements over time, like those introduced with the production of the 2019 revised thresholds. A time series of Research SPM thresholds for 2005 through 2021 is available on the DPINR SPM website.
As seen in Chart 1, the 2021 SPM thresholds for consumer units with two adults and two children are $31,107 for owners with mortgages, $26,279 for owners without mortgages, and $31,453 for renters, as compared to the official poverty threshold of $27,479 (for two adults two children). The thresholds for owners with mortgages and renters are not significantly different. In contrast, the thresholds for owner with mortgages are statistically significantly different from those for owners without mortgages (at the 0.1 percent level). Thresholds for owners without are also statistically significantly different than those for renters at the same level.
Chart 2 includes the 2021 SPM thresholds along with those from 2020 for comparison. Both these thresholds use the newest methodology approved by the ITWG SPM on September 30, 2020. As shown in Chart 2, the 2021 SPM thresholds are higher than those for 2020. When compared in threshold year dollars, the thresholds for 2021 are statistically significantly different than those for 2020 at the 0.1 percent level for owners with mortgages, owners without mortgages, and renters.
Last Modified Date: June 23, 2022