The Census Bureau has released a new formula for measuring poverty and the result is that Arkansas doesn’t look quite so poor.
Big change: Accounting for the fact that it is a good bit cheaper to live in Arkansas than, say, Manhattan or San Francisco.
The new formula moves Arkansas from 47th to 41st, with a poverty rate of 16.1 percent, just above the 15.9 percent national average. Under the old formula, our rate was 18.7 percent and the national average was 14.9 percent. In other words, more people are in poverty than before, thanks to population concentrations in expensive urban areas. Places like Arkansas and Mississippi appear better off. (Mississippi’s rate is below the national average.)