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Report Shows Success in Reducing Poverty in MT

PHOTO: A new measuring tool from the U.S. Census Bureau shows great progress has been made in reducing child poverty rates in Montana. Photo credit: correualbana/Pixabay.com.
PHOTO: A new measuring tool from the U.S. Census Bureau shows great progress has been made in reducing child poverty rates in Montana. Photo credit: correualbana/Pixabay.com.
February 25, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. - There's been a makeover in how to measure poverty in the U.S. and it shows there's been great progress in Montana. In fact, there are 39,000 fewer children in poverty than previously thought according to a report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Thale Dillon, director at Montana Kids Count, explains the new tool from the Census Bureau takes into account the cost of living, and programs such as food stamps, housing assistance and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"The Supplemental Poverty Measure shows programs do work and should not be cut or abandoned simply because we have a poor metric in how to measure poverty," she says.

Dillon says the standard poverty measure is nearly 50 years old and doesn't reflect assistance to families or modern-day expenses. The report calls for further development of the Supplemental Poverty Measure so programs can be tweaked to work even better.

Dillon adds, measuring child poverty accurately is important.

"We know for a fact that growing up in poverty profoundly affects the educational and health outcomes for children," she says.

The Casey Foundation estimates that child poverty costs the country $500 billion a year in lost productivity and earnings, including costs related to health and crime.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT