Texas Poverty 101

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Authors:
Eva DeLuna Castro /(512) 320-0222 x 103
Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102
Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

November 27, 2011

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The term poverty is generally used to describe a condition of economic hardship, but it has a technical use as well: to define a specific low-income level for various family sizes. Many social services providers in Texas use this technical measure of poverty to determine eligibility for their programs. This brief report describes the official federal poverty measure, how it is used, and the extent of poverty in Texas. Shortcomings of this methodology and alternative measures of economic hardship are also discussed.