Washington DC, November 16, 2021 — You won’t find data on Native Americans when the Census Bureau releases its highly anticipated annual income and poverty reports. Frustrated, CEPR researchers Shawn Fremstad and Julie Cai used the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to calculate poverty rates for Native Americans. Although the SPM has weaknesses, they found the Native American poverty rate to be about 1.75 to 2 times higher than white, non-Native, non-Hispanics over a six-year period.
Cai and Fremstad look to Canada for a better model of collecting and measuring poverty data. Canada committed to “consult with Indigenous persons to identify and co-develop indicators of poverty and well-being, including non-income-based measures of poverty, that reflect the multiple dimensions of poverty and well-being experienced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis.”
“The Census Bureau should report income and poverty data for Native Americans in its annual reports on income and poverty . . . [and] consult with Native Americans and Native nations on how best to report income and poverty data for Native Americans,” said Fremstad.