Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2023

Contact: Amy Carter | | 317-796-0727


[INDIANAPOLIS, IN] – The Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute is excited to release Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Indiana. This report reveals the “overlooked and undercounted” of Indiana, describing which families are struggling to make ends meet. This analysis is based on the Self-Sufficiency Standard, a realistic, geographically specific, and family composition specific measure of income adequacy, and thus a more accurate alternative to the official poverty measure. The Standard defines the amount of income necessary to meet basic needs (including taxes) without public subsidies (e.g., public housing, food stamps, Medicaid or childcare) and without private/informal assistance (e.g., free babysitting by a relative or friend, food provided by churches or local food banks, or shared housing). 

Top level summary:

  • 479,913 households in Indiana are below the Standard. With 2.47 people per household, that's 1.18 million Hoosiers below self-sufficiency. 
  • 85% of households below the Standard had at least one working adult.
  • 55% of households below the Standard had at least one child. 
  • 50% of householders below the Standard had at least some college credit, a Bachelor's degree, or an additional graduate degree. 
  • In every family type, people of color have a significantly higher rate of income inadequacy. 

At the Institute, we understand that racial and gender inequities have contributed to economic insecurity for Hoosier families.  Analysis of the characteristics and incidence of earning low incomes among different groups is key to understanding the dynamics of poverty in Indiana at this time. "The Institute wanted to make sure this project shows the impact of various factors, individually and in combination, on the probability of having an inadequate income. We have to look at factors like race and gender to address systemic economic inequality" said Amy Carter, the Institute's Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator.

The Herbert Simon Family Foundation funded this work and the Institute commissioned the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington to write the report. Many thanks to them.

About Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute

The Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute promotes public policies to help Hoosier families achieve financial well-being. We value, gather, and translate quantitative and qualitative data to communicate the opportunities and challenges that Hoosiers experience. We advance well-being by promoting evidence-based solutions and building coalitions to engage in direct and strategic conversations with policymakers and the public.

About the Herbert Simon Family Foundation

Herbert Simon Family Foundation is a private non-operating foundation. Established in 1999, the foundation has been providing support for organizations in hopes of creating more equitable, sustainable and vibrant communities with an emphasis on Central Indiana. In 2011, Herbert Simon Family Foundation expanded its board to include the second generation of the family and engaged CICF’s philanthropic services, including strategic charitable advising and grant-making counsel. The foundation grants to organizations in Central Indiana in the areas of: Arts & Culture, Basic Needs, Environment, and Social Justice.

About the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington School of Social Work

The Center for Women’s Welfare is devoted to furthering the goal of economic justice for women and their families. The main work of the Center focuses on the development of the Self-Sufficiency Standard and related measures, calculations, and analysis. The Center collaborates with a range of government, non-profit, women’s, children’s, and community-based groups to: research and evaluate public policy related to income adequacy; create tools to assess and establish income adequacy and benefit eligibility; develop policies that strengthen public investment in low-income women and families. Learn more about the Center and the Self-Sufficiency Standard research project at