How Can We Measure Poverty Rates?

Poverty of the united states essay.

More than 800 million people in the world are malnourished, 777 million of them are from the developing world (Raphel, S., 2014). Poverty is an issue that must be addressed to the population loud and clear or everyone will end up suffering. There are many families trying to survive and live from paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, there are some families that are unable to support himself or herself or any family member. One important key issue of poverty in the United States is inequality. Many Americans blame the poor people for their own fate but you should never judge a book by its cover. There can be many reasons why an individual or families end up in poverty. For example, low wage jobs, discrimination and social inequality, vulnerability to natural disasters, war and political instability. Another big issue we face today is child poverty. This is a very critical issue because these young children are our future. If we let these children live in poverty, there is a higher chance they will drop out of school, look for work in order to support their family, or give up in life.

Argument On Poverty

The topic of poverty is America has been both a huge focus and a sore subject for many. There are differing opinions on how to handle our growing population of people below the poverty line, with some saying the solution is the good old “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” rhetoric to others saying impoverished people have children and refuse to work just to get bigger checks from their states.

The Benefits Of Poverty In America

For a nation of 323.1 billion people, it is astonishing to see the people of America unaware of some situations. According to The Center for Poverty Research, in 2015, an estimated 43.1 million Americans lived in poverty according to the official measure. We are not doing enough to help those in need. Of course there are places for people to get help but so many people are struggling. “In 2015, 12.2% of men lived in Poverty USA, and 14.8% of women lived in poverty” (The State of Poverty). As a nation, we could try to be more considerate to the people that need help. “Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave” (How Poor is America’s Poor?). Some people suffer silently. They may have all of these things but they will always be in need of assistance. Our government has ignored the poor people of America and it is time to take action. Already, there are food

Poverty in America Essay

The lowest level of poverty was recorded in 1973 with only 11.1 percent of America living at or below the poverty line. In America at that time there were twenty-three million people falling into this category. Today there are still about thirty-six million people considered poor. This is almost fourteen percent of the population. The big cities saw a bigger decline also.

School Roundup Scenarios

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 46.7 million Americans live in poverty equivalent to 14.8 percent of the population.

Poverty in the United States Essay

However, this system of measuring poverty is flawed because if a family makes a dollar more above the set limit, they do not qualify for financial help from the government (NCCP, 2008).The poverty threshold is an inadequate measure of whether people are considered poor or not. Current poverty measures are flawed because it assumes how much a family spends and does not accurately include family resources such as Earned Income Tax Credit (NCCP, 2008). The way that the government measures poverty is based on outdated information that was set in the 60s. Because it has not been sufficient to keep up with the standard of living, those who are living in “high cost cities like New York and those who live in rural areas of the country” (NCCP, 2008) are barely getting by.

Welfare Causes Poverty in America Essay

There seems to be an increase in poverty in the United States and there are so many theories behind why this might be a problem. It seems as if Society as a whole wants to blame this social “condition” on Society itself. I believe that the problem of poverty lies within the actual individuals that are experiencing poverty. There are a few reasons why people experience poverty. They are as follows: One, the liberal welfare programs that were started in the 1960’s, two, individuals lack the characteristic of power and individuality, three, anti-social behavior and the idea that poverty passes from one generation to the next.

Poverty In The Census Bureau

Each year, the Census Bureau updates the poverty threshold. According to their website, the official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and excludes capital gains or noncash benefits like public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps. Beyond that, there is also a poverty threshold that measures need. These include the dollar amounts to determine poverty status. It can be individual or by family and varies by the size of the family and age of the members. In a utopian world, there would be a single computation and we’d be able to see a complete description of what people and families need to live. (In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have poverty.) However, defining poverty is not a simple feat.

Poor Statistics

In the article “Poor Statistics” (Eberstadt, 2009, p. 26), it revealed how Washington is lacking the statistical tools to effectively measure material hardships in America. Also, it tells how the official poverty rate indicator is outdated and incapable of providing the accurate poverty information. They have been using this method for calculation the poverty rate since 1965 from the reported annual income of each family. The poverty threshold is the budget based on household size and composition that will be used and adjust the inflation rate. However, when this is finally determined, it will determine the percentage of the population that is counted officially poor. In 1973, America’s poverty rate was 11.1%. In 2006, it was 12.3%. The official poverty rate measures income not consumption. According to the

Poverty In America Research Paper

Today more than one billion people live in the slums of the Southern hemisphere. Each day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger or hunger’s related diseases (Diaz). In America, we probably just see people who are homeless, but we never know how many people out there are starving and suffering for their lives without food, water, home on and on. With so much wealth in this world, why there is still so much poverty exist. Have you ever thought about why poverty persists and what should the world do to get away from poverty. There are a lot of reasons for poverty to exist nowadays include the legacy of slavery both in the United States and Africa, the colonialism, land appropriation, trade, taxation, and debt. One of the solutions to get away

Poverty In Rural America

In 2011, the Census Bureau released its annual report and pointed that close to 46 million Americans were living in the poverty level in 2010 (Rector & Sheffield, 2011). The facts represented a sharp rise from its previous estimates of 43 million individuals. Although the parameters used to define poverty in the country are different from those of other countries, the internal and external causes of poverty remain the same. In addition, most of the individuals who are poor are the rural population, who rank worse compared to the urban population.

Causes Of Poverty In America

America has a crucial, never-ending dilemma, and it is poverty. Poverty runs rabid through the country and an ailment for the issue has not been discovered. Many entities of the country are suffering because of poverty. One of these being the future of a child, which is vigorously effected by the way of life in famine and difficulty. Another consequence of poverty is the crime increase and lack of education. Crime levels tend to rise when poverty is prevalent and education is absent. Another major result of poverty is the actual health of a community or area. Poverty leads to having unhealthy living conditions and standard of life. Poverty can be prevented and cured, but the government and people can never align a similar resolution to solve the problem together.

The Relationship between Poverty and Crime

As a society the United States of America as well as, other tier one nations have been able to effectively deal with such things as looming national economic meltdown, international terrorism and other sources of great social discontent. Yet, not one of these nations has been able to undergo the effective complete removal of the plight of poverty and the problems associated in socially disorganized (poverty stricken) areas. This is why here in the 21st century there

Statistical Analysis Of Poverty Level Data Report

With that said, the United States Census Bureau published the official poverty level report of 2014 in which 46.7 million people are living below quality standard. This alarming fact of recorded data, has the number of poor people or people living in poverty ranked as one of the largest since the start of publishing poverty statistics. In 2014 the poverty rate was 14.8%, which was down from 15.1% recorded in 2010. Household cash income for families was “less than half of the poverty line, or about $10,000 a year for a family of four” (World Hunger Education Service, 2016). It represented 6.6% of all people and 44.6% of those in poverty.

Review of Literature for Poverty Measurements

From the time of independence, India has been suffering from acute poverty, most of it is chronic in nature. If we look at the percentage of people below the poverty line, we do notice a sharp fall, but the absolute number remains increasing at a high rate.

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poverty measures essay

Poverty Measure

What caused the great depression dbq analysis.

Imagine it's October 28, 1929, living a lavish lifestyle, owning a mansion, sailing on a 100 foot yacht every weekend, and having what seems like unlimited money that can be spent on anything at anytime. Then, all of a sudden, October 29, 1929 comes. The stock market crashes, banks are closing everywhere, and personal possessions are being foreclosed upon. The greatest economic downfall in the history of the United States has just began. This would become known as the Great Depression, which suited the time period between 1929 and 1941 perfectly. Everybody was affected, not just city folk. Poverty ran rampant throughout the whole country. The three main causes of the Great Depression are the overuse of credit, uneven distribution of income,

Barbara Ehrenreich's Class Matters

The article informs that in 1953 the federal government reported an official poverty rate, this was the first time this was done. Gallaway’s article essentially describes the war on poverty. Gallaway argues that the war on poverty, unintentionally, creates slow economic growth, greater income inequality, and high poverty rates. The author broadly examines poverty and economic growth and as a result, it is concluded that those who are below the poverty line are no longer impacted by any economic growth. In 2010, 15.75 million of America’s 70 million children were classified as living in poverty. Countries have attempted to end poverty for many years now but it seems that the numbers continue to increase. Some people blame the government while others blame the individual for their own situation. The article also addresses public attitudes towards welfare recipients which tends to be negative. Many think that the welfare system is only hurting the American economy. Therefore, many African American women are oppressed for receiving food stamps, but when compared to a disabled person the treatment is

Tinto's Theory Of Student Persistence

Low-income - A low-income participant is one whose family’s taxable income is less than 150% of the poverty level. The United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, sets guidelines for determining the poverty level for each cohort year (U.S. Department of Education,

Essay On Health Care Inequality

Health care inequality is a prevalent issue in Massachusetts and around the United States. Low-income families and individuals all over the country are barred from receiving adequate and necessary health care due to a lack of insurance or due to restrictive policies in their existing insurance. According to a report done by the Working Poor Families Project in 2013 titled Low-Income Working Families: The Growing Economic Gap, a low-income family is defined as one who earns less than twice the federal poverty line, while a poor family is defined as one who earns less than the federal poverty line. For a family of four with two children to be considered low-income in 2011, the threshold was $45,622, with the federal poverty line being $22,811. (Population Reference Bureau)

The Family Structure Of The African American Family

With the advancing lifestyles and further developments in personal mobility that defines today’s society, the family still plays a crucial role of contemporary life. Families offer many benefits such as companionship, protection, security, encouragement and other relative social components. The term family has been changed over the past few decades. The total number of households in the United States increased from 63 million in 1970 to 113 million in 2008 (Weeks, 2012). The traditional structure of the family (nuclear family) began branching to other structures especially in the United States follow World War II. The structures for families vary depending on certain scenarios. Some of the structures include the nuclear family, the extended family, single-parent family and many more.

The Pros And Cons Of Relative Poverty

Conceptualization of poverty has broadened to include non-economic components. Thus, poverty is increasingly being recognized as multi-dimensional, distinguishing the numerous aspects of people’s lives affected by poverty, including economic and non-economic dimensions, and recognizing that poverty occurs within and is affected by the political, economic, social and cultural context (Sen,

Advantages And Disadvantages Of American Families Today

The American family has undergone many changes since the 1900’s. More so, in the past 40 years, the nuclear family seen dramatic changes and has been described as deteriorating. There has been a dramatic rise in divorce, single parent households and child poverty. Studies have shown that children growing up in poverty-stricken single parent households are more likely to be affected well into adulthood. While this is the case, people are also living longer, and families are accommodating this change by living with relatives allowing for more bonding time then in previous generations. The idea of deteriorating values within America is subjective as there are advantages as well as disadvantages to the children of these families.

Black Men Are Vulnerable

A heightened vulnerability is a major commonalty between the families in &2.00 a Day. In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about how an African American man cannot have control of his body. Black men are vulnerable in this country; at any moment a black life can be taken. In $2.00 a Day, Edin and Shaefer takes that same vulnerability mentioned by Coates over a hundred times and expands on it. Although black Americans do have disadvantages in this country, vulnerability is regardless of race and gender. There is no one more vulnerable than the poor. They are at the mercy of the people who decides to help them. For example, Rae, a single mother is fired from her job at Wal-Mart when she does not have gas money to get to work. Gas money that her family took and spent. She and her small daughter are living with their adopted aunt and uncle. They also are living with three other people in the house. Rae has nowhere to go, and cannot rely on the father of her child. When Rae lived with him, he cheated, beat her and took her money. Her aunt and uncle insists on managing her SNAP and the welfare checks of the other residents. Rae has no choice but to abide by their rules and hand over her only source of "money".

Baseball Metaphor Of Poverty In The US

The American economic system can be defined by a baseball metaphor. The wealthy would begin the game at third base ready to rush home with a decent hit. The second and first base are filled with the middle class, far from the home plate, but still within reach. Finally, the lower class is stuck on the benches waiting for their chance to hit. There is no guarantee that the poor will cross the home plate. Although Poverty in the U.S. is minor compared to countries like Niger, Haiti, Yemen, and many more, 14.5% of our population is still living under the poverty line. This might be a small number against other countries, but compared to our immense economy, 48 million Americans under poverty is an enormous number. Within the 48 million, 22% (16 million) are children

Poverty In America Is Mainstream By Mark R. Rank Summary

Many Americans throughout their life might experience at least a one year in poverty. To be considered living in poverty your annual income must be below the official poverty line. In the article “Poverty in America is Mainstream” by Mark R. Rank, he states that there are myths and stereotypes that surround poverty in America, including that poverty only affects a small number of Americans. Rank uses justifying statistics, as well as appeals to the audience’s emotions, and his credibility to get us to truly understand that poverty can/does affect the everyday American.

Structural Functionalist Approach To Poverty Essay

Defined, poverty means someone who lacks the socially acceptable amount of money to survive. Poverty often leads to a cycle of not being able to afford what is needed across generations. The US has about 12.7% of its population below the poverty line and the rate has been decreasing. The two perspectives that look at this topic in both a positive and negative light are the structural functionalist and the conflict theory. The structural functionalist theory believes everything is a working part of society and is needed to create a sort of well oiled machine and that every part has its own use and needed function. The conflict theory sees every aspect of society as a conflict between two groups for scarce resources and wants to minimize the

Thesis Statement On Poverty

Claim: According to (Short, 2016) poverty consists of two parts: a measure of need and resources available to meet those needs. Some of these measures are lack clothing, shelter, food and transportation. A lack of human capabilities such as skills, physical abilities or self-respect. This article which was focused on income-based poverty measures it also showed the lack of resources available resources to meet those needs.

The Importance Of Family Inequality

Families can be regarded as the foundation of society. For Fleetwood (2012: 1), the importance of families is highlighted by the fact that it would be difficult to comprehend a society that could function without them. In addition, even though families and their compositions vary across societies and cultures, the family can be viewed as a universal social institution (Macionis & Plummer, 2012: 625. Specifically, according to Macionis and Plummer (2012: 625) and Neale (2000:1), it has the ability to unite individuals into cooperative groups via social bonds (kinship) and is ultimately experienced differently from individual to individual. However, the family can be a source of conflict, tension and inequality, which is why one of the key practices

Poverty In Asia Pacific Essay

Poverty is one of the biggest challenges faced in Asia and the Pacific. Where is, this located and how does it affect development?

More about Poverty Measure

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Strategies to Measure Poverty

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Measuring Poverty

poverty measures essay

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How is poverty measured?

Poverty is measured in the United States by comparing a person’s or family’s income to a set poverty threshold or minimum amount of income needed to cover basic needs. People whose income falls under their threshold are considered poor.

The U.S. Census Bureau is the government agency in charge of measuring poverty. To do so, it uses two main measures, the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure, both of which are described in this FAQ.

Official Poverty Measure

The Census Bureau determines poverty status by using an official poverty measure (OPM) that compares pre-tax cash income against a threshold that is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963 and adjusted for family size.

The OPM uses calculations of these three elements—income, threshold, and family—to estimate what percentage of the population is poor.

The official poverty estimates are drawn from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), which is conducted in February, March, and April with a sample of approximately 100,000 addresses per year.

In 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, the OPM national poverty rate was 12.7 percent. There were 40.6 million people in poverty.

The CPS ASEC questionnaire asks about income from more than 50 sources and records up to 27 different income amounts. Income is defined by the OPM to include, before taxes, the following sources:

The OPM does not include as income noncash government benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and housing assistance.

Poverty thresholds, the minimum income needed to avoid poverty, are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index , and adjusted for family size, composition, and age of householder.

OPM thresholds do not vary geographically.* In 2016, the OPM poverty threshold for a family of four was $24,339.

Poverty thresholds serve different purposes, including tracking poverty over time, comparing poverty across different demographic groups, and as the starting point for determining eligibility for a range of federal assistance programs.

(To learn more about using the poverty thresholds, or their administrative counterpoint, the poverty guidelines, for determining program eligibility, see FAQ: What are poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines? )

* The Census Bureau cautions that the thresholds should be interpreted as a “statistical yardstick” rather than as a complete accounting of how much income people need to live. They were intended to define and quantify poverty in America and to record changes in the number of persons and families in poverty and their characteristics over time.

Family is defined by the OPM as a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption who reside together. All such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.

In 1959, when the official government poverty series began, poverty was estimated at 22 percent. Before that time, unofficial estimates by researchers found a poverty rate in 1914 of 66 percent; 78 percent in 1932; 32 percent in 1947; and 24 percent in 1958.**

Figure 1 shows more recent poverty rates, in 1968, 1990, and 2016, by age, race, and Hispanic origin, using the OPM.

Figure 1. Official U.S. poverty rates in 1968, 1990, and 2016 show variation by age and racial/ethnic group and over time

poverty measures essay

** R. D. Plotnick, E. Smolensky, E. Evenhouse, and S. Reilly, “The Twentieth-Century Record of Inequality and Poverty in the United States,” in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, Vol. 3, eds. S. L. Engerman and R. E. Gallman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 249-299; G. Fisher, “Estimates of the Poverty Population under the Current Official Definition for Years before 1959,” mimeograph, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1986.

The Census Bureau releases the results of their analysis using the OPM every year in a report called Income and Poverty in the United States . The report includes charts and tables on information such as the following:

To learn more about the official poverty measure, see the Census Bureau discussion, “How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty,” and the infographic, “ How Census Measures Poverty .”

Researchers and policymakers have long called for changes to the official poverty measure for a number of reasons. However, in spite of its shortcomings, detailed below, its salience in policymaking is noted by the economists Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan:

Few economic indicators are more closely watched or more important for policy than the official poverty rate. The poverty rate is often cited by policymakers, researchers, and advocates who are evaluating social programs that account for more than half a trillion dollars in government spending.

Principal criticisms of the OPM include:

While the official measure remains the official national poverty statistic, the Census Bureau has been estimating poverty using a number of experimental measures as well, since the mid-1990s. See Poverty: Experimental Measures on the Census Bureau’s website for more about these approaches.

The most recent and prominent experimental measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure—a work-in-progress that supplements but does not replace the official measure—is discussed below.

Supplemental Poverty Measure

The Census Bureau introduced the Supplemental Poverty Measure or SPM in 2010 to provide an alternative view of poverty in the United States that better reflects life in the 21st century, including contemporary social and economic realities and government policy.

As its name suggests, the SPM supplements but does not replace the official poverty measure, which remains the nation’s source for official poverty statistics and for determining means-tested program eligibility.

In a side-by-side comparison of the official poverty measure and the SPM, the Census Bureau notes their differences in measurement units, poverty threshold, threshold adjustments (e.g., by family size), updating thresholds, and what counts as resources, summarized in Table 3 below.

Source: L. Fox, “The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2016,” Current Population Reports P60-261 (RV), Revised September 2017.

Note: “Family” as defined by the Census Bureau is “a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together; all such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.”

A comparison of official and SPM poverty rates in 2016 for the total population and among three age groups: under age 18, adults ages 18 to 64, and elders age 65 and over, is shown in Figure 2.

For most groups, SPM poverty rates were higher than official poverty rates; children are an exception with 15.2 percent poor using the SPM and 18.0 percent poor using the official measure. Analysts attribute the lower SPM child poverty rate largely to the measure’s inclusion of noncash benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) benefits.

The much higher SPM poverty rates for people age 65 and older—14.5 percent vs. 9.3 percent using the OPM—partially reflect that the official thresholds are set lower for families with householders in this age group, while the SPM thresholds do not vary by age.

In addition, the SPM rate is higher for people age 65 and older because it includes out-of-pocket medical expenditures, which are typically high for the elderly, whereas the official measure does not take them into account.

Figure 2. Poverty rates using OPM and SPM measures for total population and by age group, 2016, show a higher OPM child poverty rate and higher SPM elderly poverty rates.

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