Are 3.5 million children in America really living on less than $2 per day?
That’s the claim of some reports based on a new book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, by Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer. The welfare reform of the 1990s is to blame, according to this argument. But, as Robert Rector and Jamie Bryan Hall write, the claim “is a statistical fiction based on severe undercounting of earnings and benefits among lower-income Americans.” The problem, the explain, is that Edin and Shaefer rely on faulty data (from the government’s Survey of Income and Program Participation) that results in excluding the benefits low-income families receive from poverty programs. The data on actual living conditions tell a different story: “Only 1 percent of families supposedly in extreme poverty report that they ‘often’ did not have ‘enough food to eat’ over the previous four months; another 8 percent said that they ‘sometimes’ did not have ‘enough to eat.’ The remaining 91 percent report that they ‘always’ had enough food to eat."
More at The Heritage Foundation