The Gist: Adam Davidson on supplemental poverty and Jennifer Lee on the bamboo ceiling.

How Do Economists Objectively Measure Poverty in America?

How Do Economists Objectively Measure Poverty in America?

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
Aug. 13 2015 6:16 PM

How Economists Define Poverty

When it’s impossible to objectively measure poverty, how valuable are statics like “the poverty line”?

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A trio of homes in one of the poorest cities in the United States, Camden, New Jersey.

Photo by Blake Bolinger/Wikimedia Commons

Listen to Episode 319 of Slate’s The Gist:


On The Gist, we examine a historically very loose measure—the poverty line. When we hear about the “supplemental poverty measure” in the news, is that a more valuable number? We ask our regular guest Adam Davidson to explain. He’s a contributor to the New York Times Magazine and a founder of NPR’s Planet Money. For the Spiel, Sesame Street is moving to HBO, and you know what that means? Elmo’s gonna be naked.

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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.