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ERIC ED141435: Characteristics of Low-Income Populations Under Alternative Poverty Definitions. The Measure of Poverty, Technical Paper VI. This technical paper examines how different poverty standards can change the statistical description of the low income population. It supplements a chapter in a report submitted to the U.S. Congress in 1976 titled, "The Measure of Poverty". The poverty measure currently used in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the Census Bureau definition of poverty) and alternative poverty definitions which were selected for analysis by the Poverty Studies Task Force are described in this paper. The characteristics of the poverty population in 1974 under the current federal definition and under the various alternative poverty defintions are presented based on data from the March 1975 Current Population Survey. In addition, changes over time in the size and composition of poverty populations such as the elderly, female headed families, school aged children, and blacks under the alternative measures are analyzed. A discussion of the impact of the alternative definitions on the geographic distribution of the poor based on the One Percent Sample of the 1970 Census of Population is also included. The effect of the alternative poverty definitions on the number and characteristics of the poor varies the most with two basic changes in the poverty definition: first, large increments in the level of thresholds, and second, elimination of the variations by family size. The subgroups that deviated most from the general pattern noted for the total population of declining poverty rates under the fixed measures and fairly constant poverty rates under the relative measures between 1967 and 1974 were the elderly and persons in families with a female head. (Author/AM)

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