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Re-evaluating differences in poverty among central city, suburban, and nonmetropolitan areas of the US

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Poverty in the United States varies greatly by location. The difference in poverty intensity among locations, however, has only been evaluated by the official poverty measure - the headcount ratio - which has several drawbacks. The official poverty statistics also suffer from use of a single, arbitrary poverty line. This paper uses a recently-developed distribution-sensitive measure of poverty and 1990 census data to reconsider the difference among central city, suburban, and nonmetropolitan poverty levels, as well as differences among US regions. Instead of using a single, arguable poverty line, this paper lets the poverty line vary over an income range so that conclusions are more robust. We check for significance of differences across locations by applying some recently-developed methods of statistical inference.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 15, 2000

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