Date of Award

Winter 2016

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Rebecca Glauber

Second Advisor

Cliff Brown

Third Advisor

Sharyn Potter


Historically, minority women have made up a disproportionate percentage of the low-income population who receive safety net benefits. However, there has been no previous research that assesses how alternative poverty measures could impact these isolated groups of women. This study aims to determine which groups of people would receive the largest benefit if state and federal agencies used the supplemental poverty measure (SPM) rather than the official poverty measure (OPM) to determine eligibility for various safety net programs. In addition, this study assesses the intersectional effect of gender and race on poverty using the SPM and the official U.S. poverty measures. This study draws on data from the 2010-2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplements ASEC of the Current Population Survey CPS and estimates logistic regression models that predict the likelihood of living in poverty for various racial and gender groups. The results show that Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic women would benefit the most if state and federal agencies used the SPM to determine benefit eligibility rather than the OPM. Additionally, use of the SPM would increase women’s and men’s eligibility for programs such as SNAP, WIC, Medicare, and Medicaid. The increase in safety net eligibility could assist marginalized groups and reduce economic inequality in the U.S.