3 things the U.S. doesn’t include in poverty measurement

One of the showstoppers from the 1996 musical Rent deliberates ways to count a year in the life. In minutes? (525,600, for those who don’t know the song.) Handshakes? Cups of coffee?

That song was in my head as I was thinking about the way that the United States measures¬† poverty and how much it shapes our understanding of it.¬† The U.S. measures poverty in one straightforward simple way:¬†income. This refers to a family’s income before taxes, but not non-cash benefits like food stamps. There are three things that the U.S. doesn’t include when measuring poverty, but are included in other country’s measures: