Four Methods for Calculating Income as a Percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
A new brief from SHADAC evaluates common methods for better using categorical income measures, such as the one in the BRFSS, to calculate income as a percent of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG).
Employing data from the 2017 BRFSS, the brief presents the distribution of income as a percent of FPG produced by each method as well as the state-level poverty rates produced by each method. It then evaluates the accuracy of these methods using data from the 2018 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS-ASEC), which has both a categorical income measure and a continuous income measure. The brief compares the distribution of income as a percent of FPG produced by the CPS’s continuous income measure to the distributions of income produced by each method when applied to the CPS’s categorical income measure.