According to the official poverty measure calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau, prior to the start of the recession in 2007, the poverty rate was only slightly below its 1980 level, and has since climbed to the highest level in over thirty years. Many economists, however, advocate using an alternative measure of poverty, developed by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the 1990s. This NAS rate accounts for changes in the costs of goods other than food—notably, health care—and makes different adjustments for family size and inflation. Most importantly, the official poverty rate only considers a family’s pre-tax money income, while the NAS measure also accounts for tax credits and noncash benefits like the earned income tax credit (EITC), child tax credit, housing stipends, energy assistance, and food and nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps). When we take these programs into account, the pre-recession poverty rate had declined significantly since 1980.