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Improve Aid to the Poor

Building a Better Measure of Poverty Rates

States don't really know how many of their residents are poor.  The current federal poverty measure uses a forty-year old, widely criticized methodology.  It neither accounts for many of the resources poor families receive from the government, such as Food Stamps and the EITC, nor does it, conversely, factor in many additional expenses the poor face that are not accounted for in the federal measure, such as transportation costs, child care and local costs of living. 

Welfare "Reform": Ten Years Later

It's now ten years since the 1996 welfare law promised to end "welfare as we know it." That goal may have been accomplished, but the results have been decidedly mixed, both for poor families and for state lawmakers coping with changing federal mandates.