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Population survey miscalibrated, study finds

Official jobs figures may considerably underestimate the number of poor and uninsured Americans, according to a new study from the Center for Economic Policy Research.
/ Source: Reuters

Official jobs figures may considerably underestimate the number of poor and uninsured Americans, according to a new study from the Center for Economic Policy Research.

The U.S. government’s Current Population Survey is so severely miscalibrated that it could exclude as many as 2.5 million adults who are out of work, the research found.

“The group that is falling out of the survey is economically marginalized, less likely to have a job, less likely to have health insurance and more likely to be poor,” said John Schmitt, senior economist at CEPR and a co-author of the report.

That is particularly true because the yearly national survey on U.S. poverty, due out next week, relies on the same data, said Schmitt.

“Since non-employed adults are more likely to be poor and less likely to have health insurance, the CPS failure to capture a large group of non-working adults also leads to undercounting the poor and those without health insurance,” the study said.

It also that as many as 600,000 people in poverty and 350,000 people without health insurance are simply absent from the government statistics.