Economist Nancy Folbre asks, "Do poor people represent the bottom 16 percent of the population or the bottom 15 percent? The answer matters more than you might think."
From the blog post:
Do poor people represent the bottom 16 percent of the population or the bottom 15 percent? The answer matters more than you might think.
The difficulty of measuring economic well-being helps explain why it’s hard for people to figure out what economic percentile they belong to or which public policies would best serve their interests.
A difference of one percentage point in the overall poverty rate is no big deal. But the new Supplemental Poverty Measure, or S.P.M., developed by the Census Bureau, which yields the slightly higher overall estimate, shows lower rates of poverty among children and higher rates among the elderly than the traditional measure. An estimate based on a measure similar to the S.P.M. suggests that poverty hasincreased less over time.