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The Benefits of Housing Vouchers Have Been Grossly Understated

Especially for single mother-led households.
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Despite their problems, government-assistance programs for housing and food are generally considered pretty promising poverty-fighting measures. Census data suggests as much. But a new working paper looking at a broader data set argues that the benefits of these assistance programs are even greater than typically believed. Here’s the main takeaway, via the report:

While income-based poverty measures have been improving, they still rely on data obtained by the Census bureau via its Current Population Survey—figures riddled with inaccuracies, according to University of Chicago economists Bruce D. Meyer and Nikolas Mittag, authors of the new paper. To demonstrate how these distorted data affect our understanding of poverty and government-assistance programs, the researchers compared the snapshot of poverty created by what people have reported (or in this case, misreported) to the Census with one created using government records of actual assistance given out.