How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

A new way of counting poverty finds Latinos to be the poorest Americans

The Pew Hispanic Center has interpreted the U.S. Census Bureau's new alternative measure of poverty, which is intended to better reflect the cost of basic living expenses, along with the resources that people have to live on. Called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), it uses additional factors to measure poverty than does the official federal measure.

Counted in are medical expenses, tax credits and government benefits such as food stamps, housing subsidies and school lunch programs, according to Pew's report on the new numbers today. Geographic cost-of-living adjustments are also factored in.

The result? There are even more poor people in the U.S. than previously counted, and more of them are Latino, Asian, and foreign-born. Latinos make up the biggest group of the poor under the new measure, compared with black Americans, still the poorest as counted by the official measure.