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Generate the U.S. Poverty Guideline value for a given family size and year

povguide, gen(newvar) famsize(famsize) year(year)


povguide generates a numeric variable representing the official U.S. poverty guideline.

Important: this is one of two official poverty levels in use by the United States government. See more on this matter below, under Remarks.

Options All of these options are required.

gen(newvar) specifies the name of a new variable to be generated, which will contain the poverty guideline (in U.S. dollars). By default is will be of an integer type, typically int.

famsize(famsize) specifies an expression representing the family size. It will be truncated to an integer and bottom-coded at 1 (values below 1 will be coerced to 1).

year(year) specifies an expression representing the year for which the computation is to be made. It will be truncated to an integer. Presently, the acceptable values are 1973-2008. Out-of-bounds values will result in a warning and missing values in the result.


The poverty guideline is a "base value" for the first person in the famly, plus an increment for each additional person; the base value and increment vary, depending on the year. For example, in 2005, it is 9570 + 3260 for each additional person. To be concise, it is, basevalue + (familysize - 1) * increment

Poverty guideline values exist prior to 1973, however the increment is not uniform in those early years, so this scheme does not apply.

These values are valid for all states of the U.S. and the District of Columbia, excluding Alaska and Hawaii; Alaska and Hawaii have their own distinct standards which are not presently covered in this program.

Official standards are issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and can be found at such locations as http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/figures-fed-reg.shtml http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/99poverty.htm www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/2006/3e.html#table3.e8

The 1982 standards are for nonfarm families.

The Poverty Guideline is one of two standards in use; the other is the Poverty Threshold, a more complex calculation, involving the number of children and elderly. The Poverty Threshold is the original standard, based on the work of Mollie Orshansky; the Poverty Guideline is regarded as a simplified alternative. Also, the Threshold is used for statistical purposes (e.g., by the U.S. Census Bureau), whereas the Guideline is used for program eligibility.


. povguide, gen(povguide) famsize(num_persons) year(2002)

. povguide, gen(povguide) famsize(num_persons) year(year)

Typically, you would follow this with something like... . gen byte pov = faminc < povguide if ~mi(povguide) & ~mi(faminc)

Author David Kantor. Email kantor.d@att.net if you observe any problems. Check