What portion of the material resources of low-income households is not counted when determining official U.S. poverty statistics?
The federal government measures poverty based on the reported "money income" of households. The official source of these statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, explains that this measure excludes "income in the form of noncash benefits, such as food stamps, health benefits, subsidized housing," and other material resources that the poor receive from government and charities. Furthermore, these poverty stats are based on government surveys, and low-income households substantially underreport their cash and noncash income on such surveys. Comprehensive federal data on people's consumption of goods and services, which is the World Bank's "preferred welfare indicator," show that U.S. households who are officially "in poverty" consume about five times more goods and services than these poverty stats reveal. In other words, official U.S. poverty stats don't count about 80% of the material resources of "poor" households.