CNSTAT’s landmark report Measuring Poverty: A New Approach (1995) proposed revised poverty measures to more accurately measure economic disadvantage. After use by the Census Bureau on an experimental basis, a formula based on Measuring Poverty was adopted by New York City as its official poverty measure in 2008 and was used in a new Supplemental Poverty Measure published by the Census Bureau in 2011. CNSTAT’s work on welfare and poverty issues expanded to include a major study of measures of food insecurity and hunger, a study of measuring financial vulnerability from spending on medical care, and a workshop on developing a research agenda on the causes and consequences of child food insecurity and hunger. The Committee has also twice conducted in-depth reviews of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation.
Most recently, CNSTAT has begun a set of activities on measures of self-reported well-being—expanding on traditional economic measures to get a sense of the general “happiness” (or relative “misery”) of the population. Such measures have begun to gain traction in the United Kingdom and in other national statistical offices, and CNSTAT’s work helps bridge analytical work being done by researchers
in the United States and around the world.