English Essay on Identifying the Disadvantaged

Identifying the Disadvantaged

This paper will discussesIdentifying the Disadvantaged: Official Poverty, Consumption Poverty, and the New Supplemental Poverty Measure by Meyer and James and then responds to the discussion on Discrimination and Poverty in America. Poverty rates have been the official means to gauge the extent of deprivation in the US and also are used by policy makers to evaluate social programs and allocation of billions of dollars for poverty alleviation programs (Bruce and James, 2002). However, the methods of measuring poverty rates have come under intense criticism of recent due to them being largely unchanged for decades. This has led to discussions on how to determine poverty rates with a view of changing them. Bruce and James (2002) argue that consumption-based poverty measure is preferable to both the income-based poverty and the supplemental poverty measures (p.112). Bruce and James (2002) argue that a problem with income-based poverty measure is that it does not account for home ownership while supplemental poverty measure in attempting to address this flaw puts at the same level “small mortgage payment on a loan taken 25 years ago and a large payment on one taken out in the last year” (p. 127), therefore, performing even worse than income-based poverty measure.

Discrimination and Poverty

I agree with the author that discrimination is a factor that contributes to poverty especially in America. The rate of poverty among Africa Americans is much higher than among the white population and this is historically based on racial discrimination.Discrimination leading to poverty has negative effects on the African American community and has been cited as a cause of depression among African American women (Belle, 2003). Therefore, it is important to combat racism if we have to alleviate poverty especially among the marginalised community. This can be done through changing the public policies that encourage discrimination leading to poverty.


Belle Doucet, D. (2003). Poverty, inequality, and discrimination as sources of depression among

 US women. Psychology of Women Quarterly27(2), 101-113.

Meyer, Bruce D., and James X. Sullivan (2012). “Identifying the Disadvantaged: Official

Poverty, Consumption Poverty, and the New Supplemental Poverty Measure.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(3): 111-36.