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Letter to the Editor of The Economist

Updated: May 16, 2018

Published January 19, 2006

SIR – When explaining why American poverty statistics are misleading you forgot one crucial component of their unreliability: poverty thresholds are measured at the national level and do not differ between regions based on the cost of living. While conducting research on Head Start children's programmes, this minor detail caused me the utmost frustration, as the “estimate of how much an adequate diet might cost” is assumed to be the same everywhere. The cost of living may well be less in Kinshasa than it is in eastern Kentucky, but I can assure you it is less in eastern Kentucky than it is in New York.

Joanna Hootnick

New York

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