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Description

SPMPOV indicates whether a family is classified as poor according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).

The SPM is calculated by the Census Bureau as an alternative indicator of poverty status. It incorporates the value of tax and transfer benefits not included in the official poverty measure. In addition, SPM thresholds are calculated based on consumer expenditure data and take into account geographic differences in the cost of living. Finally, the SPM is calculated using a different definition of family membership from the official poverty measure. Differences include treating cohabiting couples as members of the same family, including foster children in the family of the head of household, and placing no age or marital status restrictions on identifiable family relationships among adults who are unrelated to the householder.

A family is classified as poor by this measure if their total economic resources fall below the poverty threshold. SPM family units are identified in SPMFAMUNIT.

It is important for users to note that the Census Bureau does not collect the same detailed income and expenditure data for the ACS as it does for the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC). Many of the data points used to calculate the SPM have been imputed or estimated using values from the CPS ASEC. For detailed information about how the Census Bureau derived these measures, please refer to the Supplemental Poverty Measure using the American Community Survey working paper.

SPMPOV is determined by whether the total resources for an SPM unit is greater than or less than an SPM unit’s poverty threshold (SPMTHRESH). The unit’s total resources are calculated by adding together the SPM unit’s benefits minus the SPM unit’s expenses. Benefits include cash income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) subsidy, capped housing subsidy, school lunch subsidy, energy subsidy, and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) subsidy. Expenses include the SPM unit’s contributions to the Federal Insurance Contribution Act and federal retirement, federal tax, state tax, work and childcare expenses, and Medical Out-of-Pocket (MOOP) and Medicare Part B subsidy. If the total resources for an SPM unit is greater than or equal to the SPM unit’s poverty threshold, SPMPOV = 0. If the total resources for an SPM unit is below the SPM unit’s poverty threshold, SPMPOV = 1.

Codes and Frequencies



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Comparability

This variable is comparable across all years.

Universe

  • Not group quarters.

Availability

United States
  • 2020: --
  • 2019: ACS
  • 2018: ACS
  • 2017: ACS
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Puerto Rico
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Flags

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Editing Procedure

There is no editing procedure available for this variable.