The official child poverty rate in Wyoming—and around the country—may be too high. That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The report says the measure created 50 years ago fails to account for the impacts of social programs and tax policy on poverty. It says a newer index—the Supplemental Poverty Measure—better measures the success of anti-poverty programs.
Samin Dadelahi is with the Wyoming Community Foundation, which works with the Annie. E Casey Foundation in the state. She says Wyoming policymakers should be using this newer measure wherever possible.
“We expect our legislators to make data-based decisions, but if they don’t have good data, how are they making those decisions?,” says Dadelahi. “What we see on the ground is not matched by the data that’s getting reported. And so, when you see a gap like that, you’ve got to change the way you’re doing things.”
When using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the rate of Wyoming children in poverty drops from 19 percent to 8 percent. Dadelahi says that shows that state and federal investments are making a bigger difference on poverty than previously thought.