The Hidden Poor are defined as those who have incomes above 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but who do not have enough income to make ends meet as calculated by the Elder Index. The term “Hidden Poor” was first coined by Dr. Diana Pearce, an economist and founder of the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington. It was originally used to refer to those who were above the official poverty line, but who had difficulty affording basic needs.
The term has since been adopted by various organizations, including the United Nations, to refer to people living in poverty who are not officially classified as such. The Hidden Poor are often overlooked by public policies and programs, as they are not typically considered to be in poverty. This is because their incomes are above the official poverty line, even though they may be unable to afford basic necessities.
The Hidden Poor are a diverse group of individuals, including those who are employed, unemployed, elderly, disabled, single parents, and immigrants. They often live in precarious situations, such as overcrowded housing or lack of access to basic services like healthcare, education, and transportation. As a result, they often experience extreme financial hardship and have difficulty meeting their basic needs.
The Elder Index and the Hidden Poor
The Elder Index is a tool developed by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to measure the cost of basic needs for older adults. It takes into account the cost of housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and other basic needs. This index provides a more accurate measure of poverty than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
The Elder Index shows that the cost of basic needs for older adults is significantly higher than what is defined as the poverty line. This means that many older adults are living in poverty, but are not officially classified as such because their incomes are above the FPL. As a result, these individuals are often referred to as the Hidden Poor.
Strategies to Combat the Hidden Poor
The Hidden Poor are often overlooked by public policies and programs, as they are not typically considered to be in poverty. In order to combat this issue, there are several strategies that can be implemented.
First, policymakers and organizations should work to raise awareness of the Hidden Poor and ensure that they are included in public policies and programs. This could include providing resources and services specifically designed to meet the needs of the Hidden Poor.
Second, organizations should work to ensure that the Elder Index is taken into account when determining eligibility for public services and benefits. This would ensure that those who are living in poverty, but who are not officially classified as such, are able to access the resources they need.
Finally, organizations should work to provide more affordable housing options for the Hidden Poor. This could include expanding rental assistance programs and providing incentives for developers to build affordable housing.
The Hidden Poor are an often-overlooked group of individuals who are living in poverty, but are not officially classified as such. By raising awareness of the Hidden Poor and providing resources and services specifically designed to meet their needs, we can ensure that they are able to access the resources they need to make ends meet.