FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2010
STATEMENT OF MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PLANS TO DEVELOP A SUPPLEMENTAL FEDERAL POVERTY MEASURE
Bloomberg Administration was First Local Government to Implement an Alternative to the Outdated Federal Poverty Measure in 2008; Census Bureau Will Mirror New York City Efforts
Today, the Obama administration announced plans to develop a supplemental measure of poverty. The new measure will be based on the very same method New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity has used since 2008 in its pioneering work to measure local poverty. Both are built upon proposals made by the National Academy of Sciences. Below is a statement from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg:
“Poverty is one of the toughest of all public policy challenges, and we cannot hope to effectively tackle it without real data that accurately reflects both the realities that poor households face, as well as all the government benefits and programs we work so hard to make accessible. One of the reasons the Federal poverty measure has remained unchanged for more than four decades is that changing it may result in an increase in the number of people considered to be poor – and no elected official wants to see poverty rates go up on their watch. But real change cannot happen without real courage, and today the Obama Administration has taken an important first step toward a change that would allow us to better target our policies and strategies around real life conditions.
“Leaders from both sides of the aisle agree that the current Federal measure is long overdue for an update, and with modest funding from Congress, the Obama Administration can develop and sustain the new measure. The Center for Economic Opportunity has worked hard over the last several years to advance this issue and do the tough research, and the fact that the White House has adopted our approach is a testament to the impact the Center is having in driving anti-poverty discussions around the world.
“I want to thank President Obama and his administration for standing up on this issue, and we will do everything we can to help him move it forward.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958