357 Poverty Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
- 📑 Aspects to Cover in a Poverty Essay
Students who learn economics, politics, and social sciences are often required to write a poverty essay as part of their course. While everyone understands the importance of this topic, it can be hard to decide what to write about. Read this post to find out the aspects that you should cover in your essay on poverty.
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Topics, related to poverty and inequality, might seem to broad. There are so many facts, factors, and aspects you should take into consideration. However, we all know that narrowing down a topic is one of crucial steps when working on outline and thesis statement. You should be specific enough to select right arguments for your argumentative essay or dissertation. Below, you will find some aspects to include in your poverty essay.
First of all, it would be beneficial to include some background information on the issue. Statistics on poverty in your country or state can help you to paint a picture of the problem. Look for official reports on poverty and socioeconomic welfare, which can be found on government websites. While you are writing this section, consider the following:
- What is the overall level of poverty in your country or state?
- Has the prevalence of poverty changed over time? If yes, how and why?
- Are there any groups or communities where poverty is more prevalent than in the general population? What are they?
Causes of Poverty
If you look at poverty essay titles, the causes of poverty are a popular theme among students. While some people may think that poverty occurs because people are lazy and don’t want to work hard, the problem is much more important than that. Research books and scholarly journal articles on the subject with these questions in mind:
- Why do some groups of people experience poverty more often than others?
- What are the historical causes of poverty in your country?
- How is poverty related to other social issues, such as discrimination, immigration, and crime?
- How do businesses promote or reduce poverty in the community?
Consequences of Poverty
Many poverty essay examples also consider the consequences of poverty for individuals and communities. This theme is particularly important if you study social sciences or politics. Here are some questions that may give you ideas for this section:
- How is the psychological wellbeing of individuals affected by poverty?
- How is poverty connected to crime and substance abuse?
- How does poverty affect individuals access to high-quality medical care and education?
- What is the relationship between poverty and world hunger?
Governments of most countries have policies in place to reduce poverty and help those in need. In your essay, you may address the policies used in your state or country or compare several different governments in terms of their approaches to poverty. Here is what you should think about:
- What are some examples of legislation aimed to reduce poverty?
- Do laws on minimum wage help to prevent and decrease poverty? Why or why not?
- How do governments help people who are poor to achieve higher levels of social welfare?
- Should governments provide financial assistance to those in need? Why or why not?
Solutions to Poverty
Solutions to poverty are among the most popular poverty essay topics, and you will surely find many sample papers and articles on this subject. This is because poverty is a global issue that must be solved to facilitate social development. Considering these questions in your poverty essay conclusion or main body will help you in getting an A:
- What programs or policies proved to be effective in reducing poverty locally?
- Is there a global solution to poverty that would be equally effective in all countries?
- How can society facilitate the reduction of poverty?
- What solutions would you recommend to decrease and prevent poverty?
Covering a few of these aspects in your essay will help you demonstrate in-depth understanding and analysis required to earn a high mark. Before you start writing, have a look around our website for more essay titles, tips, and interesting topics!
- UN Summit in New York: Ending Global Poverty He challenges the international community to enact laws that categorizes the misuse of power ‘which leads to poverty’ as a crime against humanity. The persistence of poverty can be attributed to poor governance and ignorance.
- Poverty and the Environment The human population affects the environment negatively due to poverty resulting to environmental degradation and a cycle of poverty. Poverty and the environment are interlinked as poverty leads to degradation of the environment.
- Concepts of Prenatal Drug Exposure vs Poverty on Infants In conclusion parents are of great influence to the development of their children character. Drugs use and poverty are all parents fault, and has nothing to do with the child but they are a major […]
- Aspects of Global Poverty There are arguments that have been put forth in regard to the causes of poverty in various nations with some people saying that the governments in various nations are there to be blamed for their […]
- Peter Singer on Resolving the World Poverty Everyone in this world has different perception about luxury for example many people consider Television as the basic need of life in order to get information and current situation of the world where as some […]
- Poverty and Wealth in “The Lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara This theme contributes to the meaning of “The Lesson” because the narrator illustrates the differences that exist amid the prosperous and poor kids in the fictitious story.
- Literature Study on the Modern Poverty Concerns Although the author does not expound on the various factor that enhance the growth and development of poverty, it is vivid that the world population in the modern society is facing a common economic threat.
- Poverty Concerns in Today’s Society In the contemporary world, the definition of poverty is often made international by bodies such as the World Bank and the United Nations bodies with a hypothetical line being described for the various regions of […]
- Poverty and Its Impact on Global Health: Research Methodologies Little progress has been shown to exist if one is to compare the late nineties and into the twenty first century but a lot still needs to be done to avert this catastrophe.
- Poverty in Urban Areas The main reason for escalation of the problem of poverty is urban areas is because the intricate problems of urban poverty are considered too small to attract big policies.
- Why Poverty Rates are Higher among Single Black Mothers Lack of assets, loan facilities and poor savings have played a role in contributing to the growth of poverty among single black women.
- The Problem of Immigrants Poverty in the US Alternative Hypothesis The level of poverty is significantly higher among immigrants than in general population, or Immigrant’s poverty is the root cause of social factors within their families and in society as well.
- Poverty in Brazil The primary aim of the exploration was to relate and construe the experimental findings arising from the application of the FGT poverty standards reformulation to Brazilian domestic examination data.
- What Causes Poverty in the World One of the major factors that have contributed to poverty in given areas of the world is overpopulation. Environmental degradation in many parts of the world has led to the increase of poverty in the […]
- Poverty in the Bronx: Negative Effects of Poverty South Bronx is strictly the southwestern part of the borough of Bronx and Bronx is the only borough in New York city in the mainland.
- Effects of Poverty on Immigrant Children As research studies show, although there is a group of immigrants who belong to higher social classes, mostly because of their formal education levels, most of immigrants belong to the low socioeconomic class, as most […]
- Immigrant Status and Poverty: How Are They Linked? It has been shown that native status of the immigrant family does affect the amount of income earned by a family by Chapman and Berstein.
- Social Welfare Policy That Facilitates Reduction of Poverty and Inequality in the US In spite of the scale of the increase in the inequality, the political class in the US rarely discusses this subject in the public.
- Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty: Advantages of Microcredit The main features of the Grameen project are the availability to the poor people who have no credit history and are not able to borrow a loan from a bank because of the lack of […]
- Poverty in Russia during the Late Nineteenth Century Most importantly, Pytor Pertovich Semyonova role was instrumental in the life of the peasants living before the revolution since he championed the passing of rules that were intended to guarantee the Russian peasants of their […]
- Poverty and its Effects on Childhood Education The foremost strength of Guo’s study is that in it, author succeeded with substantiating the full soundness of an idea that children’s exposure to poverty cannot possibly be thought of as only the factor that […]
- What is the Relationship between Race, Poverty and Prison? The inherent problem with this is that it becomes a “self fulfilling prophecy” in that a higher predilection to suspect minorities for crimes does indeed result in minorities being arrested for crimes but this leaves […]
- The Singer Solution to World Poverty: Arguments Against The article compares the lives of people in the developed world represented by America and that of developing world represented by Brazil; It is about a school teacher who sells a young boy for adoption […]
- Poverty in America Rural and Urban Difference (Education) The understanding of the needs of the poverty American rural and urban schools is the first step on the way to reforming the system of elementary and secondary education.
- Poverty and Inequality in Jacksonian America One of the reactions of the leaders and most especially the presidents under this period was to impose a policy of non-intervention by the federal government.
- The Singer Solution to World Poverty In his work, “The Singer solution to the world poverty” he tried to sell his idea of how the world poverty could be eradicated through sacrifice.
- On (Not) Getting by in America: Economic Order and Poverty in the U.S. In fact, according to her, these conditions are unlivable and can be referred to as another form of servant class. To this extent, it is possible to concur with Ehrenreich that these conditions are unlivable […]
- Poverty among Women and Aboriginals The following are the factors that contribute to the poverty of women: First is the gender related roles; this is whereby women are only restricted to household roles.
- The Problems of Poverty in the Modern World It is interesting to note that practically, all the problems that are linked to poverty, are either directly or indirectly caused by lack of or inadequacy of money, thus, it can confidently be said that […]
- Capitalism and Poverty While the president’s statement after the release of the report agreed that 2009 was tough especially to the working class people, two of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, live […]
- Poverty as a Peculiarity of the Economical Development I think that poverty is not only financial, economic problem, therefore, the economic model of “rich” developed countries cannot be appropriate for all societies in the worlds due to the different aspect such as mentality, […]
- The End of Poverty Philippe Diaz’s documentary, The End of Poverty, is a piece that attempts to dissect the causes of the huge economic inequalities that exist between countries in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
- Poverty in Africa These pictures have been published online to show the world the gravity of the poverty situation in the African continent. The pictures represent the suffering of majority of the African people as a result of […]
- Poverty as Capability Deprivation In this paper, the importance of social justice manifests through the understanding of social deprivation, as opposed to the understanding of income levels in the achievement of social justice.
- Poverty in Saudi Arabia It is expected that through the various facts and arguments presented in this paper.the reason behind the high poverty rate within Saudi Arabia despite its oil wealth as compared to its neighbors will become clear […]
- The Causes of Poverty Concentration in the Modern World Even though the average income of people living in developed countries is above the poverty line, the nations still experience concentrations of poverty especially when it comes to income inequality.
- The Myth of the Culture of Poverty Unfortunately, rather all of the stereotypes regarding poor people are widespread in many societies and this has served to further increase the problem of generational poverty. Poor people are regarded to be in the state […]
- War on Poverty in US The term war on poverty officially came into being in 1964 and referred to concerted government efforts to eradicate assiduous poverty in the United States of America.
- Consumerism: Affecting Families Living in Poverty in the United States Hence, leading to the arising of consumerism protection acts and policies designed to protect consumers from dishonest sellers and producers, which indicates the high degree of consumer’s ignorance, and hence failure to make decisions of […]
- Freedom From Poverty as a Human Right and the Un Declaration of Human Rights This reveals the nature of the interrelatedness of the whole boy of human rights and the need to address human rights in that context.
- Environmental Degradation and Poverty It is however important to understand the causes of the environmental degradation and the ways to reduce them, which will promote the improvement of the environmental quality.
- War on Poverty: Poverty Problem in US Apart from the two initiatives discussed above, another important initiative that can be used in the war against poverty is to engage the poor in programs of fighting poverty.
- Sweatshops and Third World Poverty When discussing about the role of multinationals in developing countries and the way they treat the economies, the writers are of the opinion that to avoid negative outcomes and promote the spirit of international corporation, […]
- Effect of Poverty on Children Cognitive and Learning Ability The majority of the conducted researches have reveals a positive relationship between the achievement and SES in all ages of children. Poverty and low socioeconomic status are closely related to cognitive development of children.
- The Mothers Who Are Not Single: Striving to Avoid Poverty in Single-Parent Families In the present-day world, single-parent families are under a considerable threat due to the lack of support and the feeling of uncertainty that arises once one of the spouses leaves, whether it is due to […]
- Poverty in the United States Inadequate fundamental learning, a wide gap between the incomes of the o-level learners and the professionals, among others, are some of the cited causes of the poverty, but lack of employment is the root cause.
- Reducing Poverty: Unilever and Oxfam From the case, it is clear that most MNC’s conduct their businesses in Least Developed Countries with no regard to the communities and environmental concerns of their areas of operations.
- Impacts of global poverty resistance Though global economy has raised the world productivity and living standards of the humans due to increased income, it has led to greater inequality within countries as evidenced among the less developed economies in Africa […]
- Microcredit: A Tool for Poverty Alleviation In recognition of the role that microfinance’s can play in the eradication of poverty and hence the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, The UN duped 2005 as the “year of microcredit”.
- Third World Countries and the Barriers Stopping them to Escape Poverty The phrase Third World was initially used in the Cold War period to represent those countries that were neither on the West NATO nations referred to as the first world countries, nor on the East-Communist […]
- Poverty in India and China India’s slow rate of poverty reduction compared to China is due to the differences in their approach to the economy. Improving the living conditions and general well being of the people is not only the […]
- We Can Stop Poverty in Ghana Today One of the main disadvantages of the document is that the problem of poverty is not considered separately, but only as a part of other economic and social problems.
- MDG Poverty Goals May be Achieved, but Child Mortality is not Improving The progress in achieving the first goal- to cut the number of people living in poverty by half- is evidenced by the high growth rates in China and India.
- Social Issues; Crime and Poverty in Camden This has threatened the social security and peaceful coexistence of the people in the community. The larger the differences between the poor and the rich, the high are the chances of crime.
- Susceptibility of women and Aboriginal people to poverty in Canada The prevalence of poverty among women and the Aboriginal people in Canada is an issue that requires urgent concern. This is a clear indication that eradication of poverty among the women and Aboriginal people in […]
- Africa’s Poverty: The Influence of Western States These people are the ones who are in a better position to accelerate the development of Africa because they have the skills that are required to take African states to another level.
- Social Business Scope in Alleviating Poverty Instead of charity work, social business aims at creating a mechanism in which the poor may be helped in a sustainable manner in that the social business makes profits just like conventional businesses, but the […]
- Cause and Effect of Poverty For example, the disparities in income and wealth are considered as a sign of poverty since the state is related to issues of scarcity and allocation of resources and influence.
- Poverty, Homelessness and Discrimination in Australia: The case of the Aboriginal He described the various aspects of the ownership of the means of production in the form of factories, machines and technology and emerging system of relations of production as an important determinants of classes.
- Poverty Indicators in Developing Countries It was chosen by the World Bank for use in determining the poverty rates of poor countries. Poor countries are given first considerations in programming and implementing of the World Bank’s projects.
- Analytical Research: Poverty in Thailand: Peculiarities and Perspectives Therefore, the government has enacted the various measures that have to improve the level of life and the image of the country.
- The Problem of Poverty in Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” To see the situation from the perspective of its social significance, it is necessary to refer to Mills’ concept of sociological imagination and to the division of problems and issues into personal and social ones.
- Civil War and Poverty: “The Bottom Billion” by Paul Collier He uses it when referring to the countries in the world, which make up the majority of the billion population of the world that unfortunately sits at the bottom of the world in terms of […]
- Fight Poverty, Fight Illiteracy in Mississippi Initiative What is required is a commitment of the members to voice the concerns of the population to the US government to take actions that are aimed at ensuring that policies are put in place to […]
- Correlation between Poverty and Obesity The present research seeks to achieve this through assessing the suggestion that today in the Western nations; the poor are now, for the first time in history, proportionately the most obese in the population groups.
- Poverty and Gender Violence in Congo In the 1990s, the country witnessed a brutal civil conflict that was attributed to struggle for power and the interest of the foreign powers.
- Is Poverty Of Poor Countries In Anyway Due To Wealth Of The Rich? There is the class of the rich elites and the class of the illiterate poor. This paper seeks to ascertain the argument that poverty of poor countries is due to the wealth of the rich.
- Poverty Effects on Child Development and Schooling To help children from low-income families cope with poverty, interventions touching in the child’s development and educational outcomes are essential. Those programs campaign against the effects of poverty among children by providing basic nutritional, academic, […]
- Rural Poverty in Indonesia As on one hand a larger number of people living in poverty are found in the rural areas, on the other hand, there exists “a division in which the pace of poverty reduction slows down […]
- Property, Urban Poverty and Spatial marginalization Blomley observes that the working of the property market also makes a significant contribution to the urban poverty and consequently leads to spatial marginalization.
- Social Dynamics: The Southern Poverty Law Centre To appreciate the need for equality and equity in any given society, the author will rely on the activities of an organization championing the same in compiling the report.
- Poverty and Development into the 21st Century The choices of citizens in the west influence the consumer, as well as political behaviors of the consumers and voters in the developing regions.
- Technological development in trade and its impacts on poverty On the same note, Cypher and Dietz claim that due to the expenses incurred in updating the technology to international standards, many business organizations have over the years been increasing the prices of their commodities […]
- Poverty fighting in Saudi Arabia and in USA This report discuses some of the poverty prevention programs that have been adopted by Saudi Arabia and the United States in dealing with a global problem, threatening the lives of billions of people around the […]
- African Poverty: To Aid, or Not to Aid In my opinion, granting educational aid to Africa is one of the best strategies required by African economies and eradicates poverty.
- Does Parental Involvement and Poverty Affect Children’s Education and Their Overall Performance? The discussion will look at the various ways in which parents are involved in the academic performance of children and also whether poverty affects the involvement of parents in the academic performance of their children.
- The Connection Between Poverty and Mental Health Problems The daily struggle to earn a daily bread takes a toll on an individual mental health and contributes to mental health problem.
- Poverty Reduction in Africa, Central America and Asia In spite of the growing attention into the subject, poverty threatens majority of the communities and societies in the developing countries, particularly in Africa.
- Global Poverty, Social Policy, and Education Defining, compare and contrasting modernization and dependency theories in relation to development and global poverty stating suggestions and causes of poverty globally Modernization theory as the name suggests, refers to modernizing or venturing to new […]
- Global Poverty, Social Poverty and Education It is therefore quite important that new forms of education systems and development theories are introduced based on situations in developing countries.
- How World Vision International Contributes to Poverty Reduction It is with the understanding of the root causes of poverty that World Vision International, it enacts programs that address the root causes so that they remain sustainable in the future even after the withdraw […]
- Critical Analyses of the Climate of Fear Report from Southern Poverty Law Center Following the murder of Marcelo Lucero in the Suffolk County, the federal government initiated an investigation to establish the foundations of the practice and pattern of hate crimes against the undocumented immigrants.
- Global poverty and education This paper will discuss the criticisms of the development theories, the historical context of development efforts, the role of international and non-governmental organizations in multilateral education and solutions offered by contemporary scholars to enhance the […]
- Terrorism, poverty and financial instability Terrorist activities are perpetrated to compel the affected parties to comply with the demands of the terrorists. Some of the conflicts in the developing countries caused by the instability and poverty in the third world […]
- Poverty Prevalence in the United States In order to meet the American Dream, the issue of poverty needs to be addressed in the US in order to pave the way for the realization of these goals. The higher is the gap […]
- Films Comparison: “The Fields” by Roland Joffe and “Hotel Rwanda” by Terry George In the killing fields, three journalists Schanberg, Swain and Pran who witnessed the Cambodian genocide under the regimes of Pol Pot and Rouge recount the stories and events of the genocide.
- Issues underlying global poverty and provision of aid The argument Barrientos, Hulme and Hanlon holds is indeed strong, but it is very important to note that even with the massive achievements that aid programs have achieved in the setting up of individuals and […]
- Development is No Longer the Solution to poverty Thus, the so-called development throughout the world has led to the creation of additional dependence of the poor nations to the rich nations.
- Millennium Development Goals in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Haiti, and Chad Relationship between poverty and education As has been observed above, low income countries that experience extreme famine tend to have the lowest rates of education.
- Why is poverty important in contemporary security studies? In addition, the essay will explore the evolution of global security studies and evaluate the significance of poverty in the modern security studies.
- How Poverty Affects Children Development? The fact is that as much as it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that children get their needs, the inability of the parents and guardians to provide these basic needs to […]
- Social Entrepreneurship and Successful Entrepreneur To access it easily, one has to design the program in a way that compels the legions of imitators and replicators.
- Hispanic Childhood Poverty in the United States Importance of the Problem The problem of childhood poverty in Hispanic groups in America is important to this study and to the social studies in America.
- Wordsworth’s Vision of Childhood in His Poems “We Are Seven” and “Alice Fell or Poverty” Specifically, the joint publication he released in 1798 known as “Lyrical Ballads” are considered the most important publications in the rise of the Romantic literature in the UK and Europe.
- Importance of Foreign Aid in Poverty Reducing Foreign aid is one of the methods used by wealthy nations to help reduce poverty in the least developed countries. Such countries as the US and Canada have provided financial aid to a number of […]
- “Urban and Rural Estimates of Poverty: Recent Advances in Spatial Microsimulation in Australia” by Tanton, R, Harding, A, and McNamara, J The purpose of this article was to use “a spatial microsimulation model to calculate the rates of poverty for small areas in Australia”.
- Does Poverty Lead to Terrorism? While there are conflicting arguments regarding the factors that influence terrorism, scholars agree on the need to evaluate evidence on the causes of terrorism and develop concrete strategies and approaches to tackle a vice that […]
- Concept of Poverty The main difference between this definition and other definitions of poverty highlighted in this paper is the broad understanding of the concept.
- Measuring Poverty and Social Exclusion in Australia The topic, measuring poverty and social exclusion was chosen to broaden the understanding of poverty and elements of social exclusion. Therefore, it is imperative for policymakers to recognise the role of diverse indicators that measure […]
- The Rise of Extremist Groups, Disparity and Poverty Despite the negative consequences that terrorists have posed to the society, the fight against the vice has become more difficult with time, especially in the light of the increasing support for the violent actions against […]
- Poverty and Domestic Violence It is based on this that in the next section, I have utilized my educational experience in order to create a method to address the issue of domestic violence from the perspective of a social […]
- How do Migration and Urbanization Bring About Urban Poverty in Developing Countries? When there is a high rate of rural to urban migration, there is pressure on the limited resources in the urban centers.
- Energy and Poverty Solutions – World Bank Ultimately, bank team confirms eligibility of all aspects of the project and their consistency with World Bank requirements and at the same time the potential of intended government to efficiently implement the projects.
- Energy and Poverty Solutions – Non-traditional Cookstoves The assessment paper which is based on a survey of women in rural Bangladesh explores the most valued attribute of a non-traditional stove, the significance of downward sloping curve, factors that influence household decisions to […]
- Sociological Indicators of Energy Poverty Access to energy has been viewed as one of the ways of uplifting the living standards of people. The lack of enough energy supplies is perceived to be a major contributor to poverty in this […]
- Millennium Development Goals – Energy and Poverty Solutions It is in the family of access to assert. It is in the family of inequity.
- Tourism Contribution to Poverty Reduction Managers usually make targeting errors such as poor delivery of tourism benefits to the poor and accruing tourism benefit to the rich in the society.
- Causes of Poverty Traps in an Economy, its Results and Ways of Avoiding them Unemployment in an economy results to low incomes to the workers since their services are readily available in the market which in turn leads to reduction in the disposable income of the workers.
- What Should You Do? Poverty Issue The only way to stop that would be to sacrifice his car, to stop the train by pushing it on the track but he does not.
- “Facing Poverty With a Rich Girl’s Habits” by Suki Kim Finally, revealing the problems of adapting to a new social status, the story turns remarkably complex, which also lends it a certain charm.
- Business and Pollution Inequality in Poor States Pollution in the third world countries leads to the degradation of the environment reducing the quality of life for the people.
- The Economic Effect of Issuing Food Stamps to Those in Poverty This method would be the most suitable because of the large number of participants to be involved in collection of data. The interviewer will have to be highly responsive to individual differences of participants and […]
- Globalization and the Issue of Poverty: Making the World a Better Place The aforementioned definitions of globalization and poverty can help define the potential changes that the globalization will have on the rates of the former in the nearest future.
- Challenges of Social Integration: Poverty The government of Romania uses two measures of poverty to estimate the level of poverty in the country: absolute and relative poverty measures.
- The World Bank and the Poverty of Reform However, with the various leadership scandals that have been observed in the bank, experts now doubt whether the World Bank has the capacity to address the various development challenges that are facing the developing nations.
- Poverty Research Proposal To justify this, the recent and most current statistics from the Census Bureau shows that the level and rate of poverty in USA is increasing, with minority ethnic groups being the most disadvantaged.
- Global Poverty Studies and their Importance The most difficult thing in discussing and scientifically explaining the phenomenon of poverty is that there is no macroeconomic approach to it.
- Human Capital and Poverty in Scottsdale According to Lang and LeFurgy, over 52% of the residents of this city have a degree or higher education attainments, because of the education policies and the attractiveness of the city to foreigners.
- “The Singer Solution to World Poverty” by Peter Singer The article “The Singer Solution to World Poverty” by author Peter Singer attempts to provide a workable solution to the world poverty problem.
- Catholic Dealing with Poverty and Homelessness The idea of “common good” will support many people in the world. The practice will support many people in the world.
- How Racial Segregation Contributes to Minority’s Poverty? In the conclusion section, the paper argues that racial segregation though a contributor to concentrated poverty in minority communities, is a social issue that arguably cannot be legislated.
- The Poverty Across the US Culture This paper argues that the prevalence of poverty in most parts of the US is a result of poor strategizing, the lack of education, mistakes in choosing courses, the disappearance of low-skill jobs and a […]
- The Solution to World Poverty by Peter Singer Therefore, in the worst case scenario, the implementation of the plan proposed by Singer will lead to the financial instability for not only the beneficiaries, but also for the people donating for the wellbeing of […]
- Suburbanisation of Poverty in the USA In particular, it is necessary to focus on the transformation of American economy and changing attitudes of people who previously wanted to settle in suburban areas.
- Max Weber’s Thoughts on Poverty Weber has contributed to the exploration of the origins of poverty and the impact of religions on the attitude to it.
- Poverty as the Deprivation of Capabilities Nussbaum supports Sen’s argument that efforts in poverty eradication should be focused on capability deprivation, which is the taking away of the abilities bestowed on someone, rather than raising the income of the poor.
- Poverty Controversy in the USA The essay provides a consistent discussion of poverty in the USA as well as verifies the standards of socioeconomic life in America against those, which exist in the developing countries.
- Detroit Poverty and “Focus Hope” Organization There is a great number of factors and issues that lead to a certain part of the population to live in poverty.”Focus Hope” is an organization that tries to alleviate the suffering of those in […]
- Poverty: $2.00 a Day in America When conversations about the poor occur in the city of Washington, they usually discuss the struggles of the working poor, forgetting about the issues that the non-working poor face day by day.
- Social Issues of Families in Poverty With the tightened budget, parents of the families living in poverty struggle to make ends meet, and in the course of their struggles, they experience many stresses and depressions.
- Profit from Organizing Tours to Poverty Areas The tour operators are in the business of selling services that are beneficial to both the tourist and the people in the destination country.
- The Rise of Poverty in the US The main issue that is portrayed in the article is the presence of the invisible poor and the homeless poor in the US.
- Poverty in the Novel “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk All through, the author creatively captures the attention of the reader without watering down the content and flow of the storyline. The reality of poverty is undeniable in this book.
- Global Conflict and Poverty Crisis The contemporary issue of global conflict and poverty crisis requires the attention of international communities and governments. The study of international conflicts and poverty crisis is important for individuals, communities, and nations across the world.
- Global Poverty Reduction: Economic Policy Recommendation Relative poverty is the unforgivable level of poverty ranging between average and absolute poverty. In accordance with the capabilities approach, poverty and dispossession are as a result of lack of individual capacity and competencies.
- Global Poverty and the Endeavors of Addressing It Despite the attempts of modern economists to reconsider the financial options for the poor, the latter will always exist unless the very structure of economy is replaced with an entirely new principle of distributive justice.
- Poverty and Education: School Funding Reinforces Inequality The government supplied the highest amount of funds in New York City Schools, but the inadequacy made them to achieve the poorest results.
- Poverty Effect on Children 1 million children, aged between 5 to 17 years old, were noted to be from low income families which, as explained by George Stokes, & Wilkinson, can result in a lack of access to a […]
- African Poverty at the Millennium: Causes and Challenges The book “African Poverty at the Millennium: Causes, Complexities, and Challenges” explores the issue of poverty in Africa. In the second part of the book, the authors discuss the social, political, and economic causes of […]
- Divorce Outcomes: Poverty and Instability Divorce is not the solution to challenges in marriage since it results in poverty, instability and unstable environment for children. Personal analysis shows that due to this situation, some children are usually left to the […]
- The Relationship between Poverty and Education My research paper tends to provide investigation towards the amount of characteristics that alter the degree of registration into institutions of higher education of scholars from inferior social groups; to define the relative importance of […]
- Poverty Reduction Among American Single Mothers The typical causes of the single-mothers’ unemployment and poverty are the lack of education to receive the well-paid job and the absence of the social support to provide the adequate care for children.
- Poverty in “A Theology of Liberation” by Gutierrez The most critical aspect in which this state deviates from the former two is that a poor person perfectly understands the necessity to abide with God and, simultaneously, the debilitating effect of poverty.
- Poverty and Social Welfare in the United States Nevertheless, unemployment is not the only source of poverty, and the New World was hardly the land of wealth and prosperity.
- Poverty in Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London” The fact that the structure of society is discussed is especially interesting, and it is suggested that opinions of people that live in poverty are not acknowledged most of the time.
- Children and Poverty in “Born into Brothels” Documentary The desire to cognize the meaning of life involves the quest for the internal integrity and constancy of the personality. The fact of belonging to a particular cultural group, in which there are standards and […]
- Poverty and Challenges in Finding Solutions It is obvious, that an ideal solution to the issue of poverty is distribution of these funds between people in need and improvement of current situation.
- American War on Poverty Throughout US History It was the beginning of the issue of poverty. However, there is an opinion that it was the question of policy and his way to increase the level of popularity.
- Poverty Reasons in Ancient Times and Nowadays It is possible to suggest that there are some main reasons for poverty, which are the ineffective political system, discrimination, and mistakes of the rulers of different states.
- Do Poverty Traps Exist? Assessing the Evidence They believe unless there is a proper policy in place that can change the fundamentals of the economy, simple investment with the assistance of foreign aid will not help the country to come out of […]
- “Halving Global Poverty” by Besley and Burges Tim Besley and Robin Burges note in their paper “Halving Global Poverty” that, depending on the average real per capita income of a country, high inequality of income is positively correlated to the high degree […]
- Poverty as a Cause of the Sudanese Civil War The connection between poverty and conflict has been analyzed in the West African region where “11 of the world’s 25 poorest countries are contained and is currently one of the most unstable regions of the […]
- Poor Economics and Global Poverty In the given paper, we will discuss and analyze the factors contributing to the increase in poverty rates, review the consequences and effects of poverty on individuals and the society as a whole, and outline […]
- Poverty in the US The United States of America is one of the most diverse countries in the world. The question here is what are the possible causes of poverty in a country like the United States.
- Culture of Poverty in the “Park Avenue” Documentary In contrast, the uncaring and greedy attitudes of the people in the movie could be characterized as a “culture of wealth”.
- Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans To support the evidence provided by the new report, the author of the article cites the data of the American Community Survey from 2009-2013 that demonstrate that in Chicago, more than 30% of poor black […]
- Global Health Governance and Poverty The aim of this paper is to outline the importance of health in global governance and discuss the issue of poverty in less-developed nations as a significant challenge to the global health system.
- Vietnamese Poverty and Productivity Increase There was also a change in the percentage of the population that lived on or below the poverty line. In1993, 60% of the population was living on or below the poverty line through this reduced […]
- Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty The hypothesis presented by the authors is a difference in the economies: while the former shows the signs of the inclusive economy, which does not restrict the wealth from being distributed among the population for […]
- Energy Poverty Elimination in Developing Countries Responding to the article by Sagar, I would like to emphasize that the establishment of a special fund to assist the mentioned countries in alleviating energy poverty is a feasible idea.
- Poverty Impact on Life Perception
- Poverty and Child Health in the US and the UK
- Inequality and Poverty Relationship
- Urban and Suburban Poverty in the United States
- Breastfeeding Impact on Canadian Poverty Gaps
- Poverty, Inequality and Social Policy Understanding
- Poverty: An Echo of Capitalism
- Poverty Areas and Effects on Juvenile Delinquency
- Poverty Solution as a Political Issue in Australia
- Poverty as a Factor of Terrorist Recruitment
- Poverty and Global Food Crisis: Food and Agriculture Model
- Child Poverty and Academic Achievement Association
- Poverty in America: An Ethical Dilemma
- Poverty and Its Relative Definitions
- Economic Development: Prosperity and Poverty
- Poverty and Its Aspects in Historical Documents
- Single-Mother Poverty and Policies in the United States
- Poverty in American Single-Parent Families
- Video Volunteers’ Interventions Against Poverty
- Social Study: Mamelodi Residents Living in Poverty
- International Financial Institutions’ Poverty Reduction Strategy
- “Poverty and Joy: The Franciscan Tradition” by Short
- The Impact of Poverty in African American Communities
- Poverty and Politics in “The Bottom Billion” by Collier
- Canada and the Imposition of Poverty
- The Relation Between Poverty and Justice
- Relationship Between Crime Rates and Poverty
- Poverty and Inequality in “Rich and Poor” by Peter Singer
- Religious Quotes on Poverty and Their Interpretations
- Econometrics: Poverty, Unemployment, Household Income
- Poverty in the US: Essentials of Sociology
- “Rethinking the Sociological Measurement of Poverty” by Brady
- Poverty in Los Angeles
- Poverty around the World
- Teen Pregnancy Can Lead to Suicide and Poverty
- Poverty, Stratification and Gender Discrimination
- Anthropology: Culture of Poverty
- Globalization Issues and Impact on Poverty and Free Trade
- Poverty and Hip-Hop: Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”
- Social Problem of Poverty in the United States
- Poverty in Bambara’s The Lesson and Danticat’s A Wall of Fire Rising
- Healthcare Development. Poverty in the 1800s
- Development Economics: Poverty Traps in Africa
- Phenomena of Poverty Review
- “Old Age Poverty” Study by Kwan & Walsh
- Community Work: Helping People in Poverty
- Poverty Rates Issue in Alberta Analysis
- The Philippines’ Unemployment, Inequality, Poverty
- Poverty in the US: Causes and Measures
- The Cultural Construction of Poverty
- Theories of Fertility. Economics Aspect and Poverty.
- Poverty Level in any Country
- Global Poverty Dimensions and Alleviating Approaches
- Feminization of Poverty – A Grave Social Concern
- Poverty As A General Problem
- Poverty of America: Economic Assumptions
- Poverty and Its Effects on Women
- Poverty and Its Effects on Females
- Poverty and Inequality in Modern World
- Microeconomics. Poverty in America
- Poverty Issue in America Review
- Children’s Brain Function Affected by Poverty
- Child Poverty in Toronto, Ontario
- The Underclass Poverty and Associated Social Problems
- Poverty. “How the Other Half Lives” by Jacob Riis
- Pockets of Poverty Mar the Great Promise of Canada
- Marginalization and Poverty of Rural Women
- Management Issues: The Poverty Business
- Environmental Deterioration and Poverty in Kenya
- Poverty as a Great Social Problem and Its Causes
- Colonial Economy of America: Poverty, Slavery and Rich Plantations
- Poverty by Anarchism and Marxism Approaches
- How Gender and Race Structure Poverty and Inequality Connected?
- Is Poverty From Developing Countries Imagined?
- Social and Economic Policy Program: Globalization, Growth, and Poverty
- Poverty, Suburban Public School Violence and Solution
- The End of Poverty Possibility
- Urban Relationship Between Poverty and Crime
- Poverty in the World
- Poverty and Criminal Behavoiur Relation
- Cultures and Prejudice: Poverty Factors
- Poverty in United States. Facts and Causes
- War and Poverty Connection in Developing Countries
- Values and Ethics: Poverty in Canada
- Poverty in America: A Paradox
- The Poverty Rates in the USA
- The Effects of Poverty Within Criminal Justice
- Poverty, Government and Unequal Distribution of Wealth in Philippines
- “The End of Poverty” by Phillipe Diaz
- Poverty Sustainability in Sub-Saharan Countries: The Role of NGOs
- The Problem of Poverty in Africa
- The Notion of “Poverty” is a Key Word of a Modern Society
- Intro to Sociology: Poverty
- Poverty and Disasters in the United States
- Vietnam’s Economic Growth and Poverty & Inequality
- Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development
- Poverty and Disrespect in “Coming of Age in Mississippi” by Anne Moody
- Poverty in Africa: Impact of the Economy Growth Rate
- The Internet and Poverty in Society
- Poverty: Causes and Effects on the Population and Country
- Poverty and Diseases
- Poor Kids: The Impact of Poverty on Youth
- Individualistic Concepts and Structural Views on Poverty in American Society
- The Problem of Childhood Poverty
- Health, Poverty, and Social Equity: Indigenous Peoples of Canada
- Health, Poverty, and Social Equity: The Global Response to the Ebola Outbreak
- Children in Poverty in Kampong Ayer, Brunei
- Corporate Social Responsibility & Poverty Alleviation
- Poverty Reduction and Natural Assets
- Poverty Policy Recommendations
- Dependency Theory and “The End of Poverty?”
- The Impact of Poverty on Children Under the Age of 11
- Microeconomic Perspective on Poverty Evolution in Pakistan
- Poverty: A Sociological Imagination Perspective
- Reflective Analysis of Poverty
- Couple Aims to Fight Poverty, One Village at a Time
- “Poverty, Race, and the Contexts of Achievement” by Maryah Stella Fram et al.
- Community Health Needs: Poverty
- The Issue of Vicious Circle of Poverty in Brazil
- The Criminalization of Poverty in Canada
- Poverty’s Effects on Delinquency
- Guns Do Not Kill, Poverty Does
- Children Living in Poverty and Education
- Wealth and Poverty: The Christian Teaching on Wealth and Poverty
- Poverty, Social Class, and Intersectionality
- Researching the Problem of Poverty
- Poverty as a Global Social Problem
- Poverty and Unemployment Due to Increased Taxation
- The Problem of Poverty in the United States
- Poverty and Inequality in the US
- End of Extreme Poverty
- Political Economy: Relationship Between Poverty, Inequality, and Nationalism
- Poverty and Sex Trafficking: Qualitative Systematic Review
- Analysis of Theodore Dalrymple’s “What Is Poverty?”
- Social Work at Acacia Network: Poverty and Inequality
- Global Poverty and Ways to Overcome It
- America’s Shame: How Can Education Eradicate Poverty
- Poverty, Partner Abuse, and Women’s Mental Health
- Global Education as the Key Tool for Addressing the Third World Poverty Issue
- Vicious Circle of Poverty in Brazil
- Progress and Poverty Book by Henry George
- Poverty Effects on American Children and Adolescents
- International Aid – Poverty Inc
- Analysis of a Social Problem: Poverty
- Poverty and Inequality Reduction Strategies
- Poverty and Risks Associated With Poverty
- Free-Trade Policies and Poverty Level in Bangladesh
- Feminization of Poverty and Governments’ Role in Solving the Problem
- Poverty Effects and How They Are Handled
- Discussion of the Problem of the Poverty
- Poverty and Homelessness as Social Problem
- Juvenile Violent Crime and Children Below Poverty
- “The Hidden Reason for Poverty…” by Haugen
- Poverty in New York City, and Its Reasons
- Child Poverty in the United States
- Poverty and Its Effect on Adult Health
- Aspects of Social Work and Poverty
- The Relationship Between Single-Parent Households and Poverty
- Life Below the Poverty Line in the US
- Poverty in “A Modest Proposal” by Swift
- Poverty Simulation Reflection and Its Influence on Life
- Is Poverty a Choice or a Generational Curse?
- “Poverty, Toxic Stress, and Education…” Study by Kelly & Li
- The Problem of Poverty in Chad
- Is Globalization Reducing Poverty and Inequality? & How to Judge Globalism
- Poverty: Subsidizing Programs
- Poverty as a Social Problem in Burundi
- Why Has Poverty Increased in Zimbabwe?
- Should Private Donations Help Eliminate Child Poverty?
- Why Was Poverty Re-discovered in Britain in the late 1950s and Early 1960?
- Why Does Child Labour Persist With Declining Poverty?
- Why Are Child Poverty Rates Higher in Britain Than in Germany?
- What Are the Principles and Practices for Measuring Child Poverty in Rich Countries?
- Why Did Poverty Drop for the Elderly?
- What Is the Relationship Between Income Distribution and Poverty Reduction in the UK?
- What Are the Pros and Cons of Poverty in Latin America?
- Should Poverty Researchers Worry About Inequality?
- What Helps Households With Children in Leaving Poverty?
- What Is the Connection Between Poverty and Crime?
- Why Have Some Indian States Done Better Than Others at Reducing Rural Poverty?
- What Is the Relationship Between Lack of Education and Poverty?
- Why Are Child Poverty Rates So Persistently High in Spain?
- Trade Liberalisation and Poverty: What Are the Links?
- What Are Academic Programs Available for Youth in Poverty?
- What Are the Main Factors Contributing to the Rise in Poverty in Canada?
- Single-mother Poverty: How Much Do Educational Differences in Single Motherhood Matter?
- What Are the Causes and Effects of Poverty in the United?
- Why Are Some Countries Poor?
- What Is the Link Between Globalization and Poverty?
- What Are the Factors That Influence Poverty Sociology?
- What Causes Poverty Within the United States Economy?
- What Is the Relationship Between Poverty and Obesity?
- Why Were Poverty Rates So High in the 1980s?
- With Exhaustible Resources, Can a Developing Country Escape From the Poverty Trap?
- Why Does Poverty Persist in Rural Ethiopia?
- Who Became Poor, Who Escaped Poverty, and Why?
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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Further Resources on Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History
This page includes resources on the two slightly different versions of the U.S. (federal) poverty measure: the poverty thresholds and the poverty guidelines .
- The poverty thresholds are the original version of the federal poverty measure. They are updated each year by the Census Bureau . The thresholds are used mainly for statistical purposes — e.g., preparing estimates of the number of Americans in poverty each year.
- The poverty guidelines are the other version of the federal poverty measure. They are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services . The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes — e.g., determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.
Key differences between the poverty thresholds and the poverty guidelines are outlined on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs>) page. See also the discussion of this topic on the Institute for Research on Poverty’s web site.
Background Paper on the Poverty Guidelines
Gordon M. Fisher, “ Poverty Guidelines for 1992 ,” Social Security Bulletin , Vol. 55, No. 1, Spring 1992, pp. 43-46 [ PDF Format ]
Besides presenting the guidelines for a particular year, this article is a background paper on the poverty guidelines. It describes the differences between the poverty guidelines and poverty thresholds, lists a number of federal programs that use the guidelines as an eligibility criterion, and shows how the guidelines are calculated from the thresholds each year.
Programs That Do — and Don’t — Use the Poverty Guidelines
The HHS poverty guidelines, or percentage multiples of them (such as 125 percent, 150 percent, or 185 percent), are used as an eligibility criterion by a number of federal programs, including those listed below. For examples of major means-tested programs that do not use the poverty guidelines, see the end of this response.
- Foster Grandparent Program
- Senior Companion Program
- Child and Adult Care Food Program (for free and reduced-price meals only)
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
- National School Lunch Program (for free and reduced-price meals only)
- School Breakfast Program (for free and reduced-price meals only)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly Food Stamp Program)
- Weatherization Assistance for Low-Income Persons
- AIDS Drug Assistance Program
- Assets for Independence Demonstration Program
- Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Community Health Centers
- Community Services Block Grant
- Family Planning Services
- Health Careers Opportunity Program
- Health Professions Student Loans — Loans for Disadvantaged Students
- Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services Program
- Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
- Medicare – Prescription Drug Coverage (subsidized portion only)
- Migrant Health Centers
- PARTS of Medicaid (31 percent of eligibles in Fiscal Year 2004)
- Scholarships for Health Professions Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds
- National Farmworker Jobs Program
- Senior Community Service Employment Program
- Workforce Investment Act Youth Activities
- Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics
- Legal Services for the Poor
Most of these programs are non-open-ended programs — that is, programs for which a fixed amount of money is appropriated each year. A few open-ended or “entitlement” programs that use the poverty guidelines for eligibility are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps), the National School Lunch Program, certain parts of Medicaid, and the subsidized portion of Medicare – Prescription Drug Coverage.
Some state and local governments have chosen to use the federal poverty guidelines in some of their own programs and activities. Examples include financial guidelines for child support enforcement and determination of legal indigence for court purposes. Some private companies (such as utilities, telephone companies, and pharmaceutical companies) and some charitable agencies also use the guidelines in setting eligibility for their services to low-income persons.
Major means-tested programs that do not use the poverty guidelines in determining eligibility include the following:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- State/local-funded General Assistance (in most cases)
- Some parts of Medicaid
- Section 8 low-income housing assistance
- Low-rent public housing
The Official Federal Statistical Definition of Poverty
Statistical Policy Directive No. 14, “ Definition of Poverty for Statistical Purposes ” ( Federal Register , Vol. 43, No. 87, May 4, 1978, p. 19269)
In August 1969, the U.S. Bureau of the Budget (the predecessor of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) designated the Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds as the federal government’s official statistical definition of poverty. This directive is the latest version of the document embodying that designation.
Mollie Orshansky’s Development of the Poverty Thresholds
Gordon M. Fisher, “ The Development and History of the Poverty Thresholds ,” Social Security Bulletin , Vol. 55, No. 4, Winter 1992, pp. 3-14 [ PDF Format ]
This article describes how Mollie Orshansky developed the poverty thresholds during the 1960’s, and how the thresholds have and have not been changed since then. For a 2-page summary of this article, see “ The Development and History of the U.S. Poverty Thresholds — A Brief Overview ,” GSS/SSS Newsletter [Newsletter of the Government Statistics Section and the Social Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association], Winter 1997, pp. 6-7. There is also an 88-page revision of the unpublished paper from which the Social Security Bulletin article was condensed.
Mollie Orshansky, “Counting the Poor: Another Look at the Poverty Profile,” Social Security Bulletin , Vol. 28, No. 1, January 1965, pp. 3-29 — reprinted in Social Security Bulletin , Vol. 51, No. 10, October 1988, pp. 25-51
This is the original article in which Orshansky presented the final version of her poverty thresholds. See selected articles and papers by Orshansky on the poverty thresholds and the poverty population, with a link to some of the articles (including “Counting the Poor…”). See also a chronological bibliography of Orshansky’s publications . The economy food plan used by Orshansky to develop the thresholds is included in a 1962 Agriculture Department report [PDF format - 58 pages].
Research on Alternative Approaches to Poverty Measurement
Recommendation of the Subcommittee on Updating the Poverty Threshold , August 2, 1973.
Memorandum from Milo B. Sunderhauf, Statistical Policy Division, Office of Management and Budget, to Robert Raynsford, Office of Management and Budget — Subject: Recommendations of the Subcommittee on Updating the Poverty Threshold. (Note that Mollie Orshansky was one of the members of this Subcommittee.)
Consolidated Report of Subcommittee Chairmen: Review of Poverty Statistics , September 4, 1973
Memorandum from Bette Mahoney, Chairman, Subcommittee on Measurement of Non-Cash Income, Milo B. Sunderhauf, Chairman, Subcommittee on Updating the Poverty Threshold, and Murray S. Weitzman, Chairman, Subcommittee on Measurement of Cash Income, THRU Robert W. Raynsford, Statistical Policy Division, Office of Management and Budget, to Paul F. Krueger — Subject: Consolidated Report of Subcommittee Chairmen: Review of Poverty Statistics.
In 1973, these subcommittees conducted a review of the federal statistics in these areas at the request of the Office of Management and Budget's Statistical Policy Division. This review was significant because many of the professionals who conducted it had been working with poverty and income concepts for years; they were familiar not only with these concepts themselves but also with the contexts in which they had been developed and (in a number of cases) with what had been done before the existing concepts were put in place. The recommendations of this review were not extensively publicized. In addition, they seem to have been eclipsed several years later by the Measure of Poverty report.
U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, The Measure of Poverty: A Report to Congress as Mandated by The Education Amendments of 1974 , Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, April 1976
This report thoroughly explored the issues involved in developing and revising poverty measures, gathering extensive supporting information that was presented in the report itself and in 17 Technical Papers. The report did not recommend specific changes in the current poverty measure. The report and the technical papers are now available on the Census Bureau’s Web site.
Constance F. Citro and Robert T. Michael (editors), Measuring Poverty: A New Approach , Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1995
In May 1995, the Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance appointed by the National Research Council’s Committee on National Statistics issued this report, which proposed a new approach for developing an official poverty measure for the U.S. — although it did not propose a specific set of dollar figures. For further information on this report, contact the Committee on National Statistics, HA 192, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418 — telephone: (202) 334-3093; e-mail address: [email protected] ; or you may visit the web page for the report . The full text of the report is on the Census Bureau’s Poverty Measurement Web site.
Papers by David Betson on Poverty Measurement Issues
David M. Betson of the Notre Dame University Department of Economics wrote the following papers while he was a visiting scholar at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, HHS. (Dr. Betson was a member of the National Research Council's Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance.)
- Poor Old Folks: Have Our Methods of Poverty Measurement Blinded Us to Who is Poor? (November 1995) [PDF format - 29 pages]
- Effect of Home Ownership on Poverty Measurement (November 1995) [PDF format - 14 pages]
- "Is Everything Relative?" The Role of Equivalence Scales in Poverty Measurement (March 1996) [PDF format - 38 pages]
- In Search of an Elusive Truth. "How Much Do Americans Spend on Their Health Care?" (April 1997) [PDF format - 16 pages]
U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Measurement Working Papers
These working papers, written since 1995, deal with issues relating to poverty measurement and experimental poverty measures. Papers in this series are arranged under the following topics: Measuring Poverty — Background and Overview; Who are the Poor? Using Different Measures; Poverty Thresholds; Medical Care; Housing Costs; Work-related Expenses and Child Care; Taxes and Unit of Analysis; and Other Approaches to Measuring Economic Well-being.
Kathleen Short, Thesia Garner, David Johnson, and Patricia Doyle, Experimental Poverty Measures: 1990 to 1997 , U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-205, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, June 1999. [PDF format - 133 pages]
This report is the first in a series of Census Bureau reports presenting variants of poverty measures based on the recommendations of the Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance. This report also examines the marginal effects of varying individual elements (e.g., the equivalence scale) of the proposed poverty measures. More recent Census Bureau reports on experimental poverty measures can also be found on the Census Bureau’s Poverty web site.
National Research Council, Experimental Poverty Measures: Summary of a Workshop , Planning Group for the Workshop to Assess the Current Status of Actions Taken in Response to Measuring Poverty: A New Approach , Committee on National Statistics, Washington, D.C., The National Academies Press, 2005
In June 2004, the National Research Council’s Committee on National Statistics convened a workshop to assess the current state of research on various elements of experimental poverty measures based on the recommendations of the 1995 Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance. This report summarizes the discussions at the workshop. Eight papers presented at the workshop are available on the Committee on National Statistics web site. See also John Iceland, “ The CNSTAT workshop on experimental poverty measures, June 2004 ” in Focus , Vol. 23, No. 3, Spring 2005, pp. 26-30, for a 5-page summary of the workshop. [PDF format - 5 pages]
Douglas J. Besharov and Peter Germanis, Reconsidering the Federal Poverty Measure , University of Maryland Welfare Reform Academy, June 14, 2004. [PDF format - 24 pages]
Beginning in 2004, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (ASPE) provided funding for a series of seminars to explore the limitations of the current federal poverty measure and to identify alternative approaches for measuring the material well-being of low-income Americans. Seminar participants included most of the senior government officials responsible for the relevant surveys, as well as academics broadly representative of different disciplines and political orientations. This paper provides a description of the seminar project. Working papers and summaries of individual seminars are available .
Papers by ASPE Staff Relating to the History of Poverty Lines
Gordon M. Fisher, “ From Hunter to Orshansky: An Overview of (Unofficial) Poverty Lines in the United States from 1904 to 1965 ” (October 1993 — revised August 1997)
A 7-page summary of this 98-page paper is also available.
Gordon M. Fisher, “ Is There Such a Thing as an Absolute Poverty Line Over Time? Evidence from the United States, Britain, Canada, and Australia on the Income Elasticity of the Poverty Line ” (October 1994 — revised August 1995)
Successive unofficial poverty lines developed as absolute poverty lines show a pattern of rising in real terms over time as the real income of the general population rises; this phenomenon has been termed “the income elasticity of the poverty line.” This 78-page paper assembles extensive historical evidence of this phenomenon not only from the U.S. but also from the three other countries named. For a brief summary of the U.S. evidence alone, see “ Relative or Absolute — New Light on the Behavior of Poverty Lines Over Time ,” GSS/SSS Newsletter [Joint Newsletter of the Government Statistics Section and the Social Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association], Summer 1996, pp. 10-12.
Gordon M. Fisher, " Standard Budgets (Basic Needs Budgets) in the United States Since 2006 ", August 2012
Gordon M. Fisher, “ An Overview of Recent Work on Standard Budgets in the United States and Other Anglophone Countries ”, January 2007.
Gordon M. Fisher, “ 'Enough for a Family to Live On?' — Questions from Members of the American Public and New Perspectives from British Social Scientists ” (a paper presented at the 23rd Annual Research Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management in Washington, D.C.), November 2001. [PDF format - 50 pages]
This paper reviews four approaches to determining a socially acceptable minimum standard of living (poverty) that are being used in Britain and other European countries.
Gordon M. Fisher, “ Reasons for Measuring Poverty in the United States in the Context of Public Policy — A Historical Review, 1916-1995 ” (August 1999 — revised June 2000)
Gordon M. Fisher, “ How Many Americans Were Really in Poverty in 1947? Estimates of the U.S. Poverty Population Between 1947 and 1963 Under Two Contemporary (1949 and 1959) Definitions of Poverty ” (a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Economic History Association in Baltimore, Maryland), October 1999
As indicated by the title, this paper applies unofficial 1949 and 1959 definitions of poverty to income data for the 1947-1963 period, yielding poverty population estimates for those years. These estimates were included in the subchapter on poverty published in Historical Statistics of the United States (Millennial Edition) (2006). The paper also withdraws an unpublished 1985 set of poverty population estimates by the author which applied a 1960s definition of poverty--the current official definition--to income data for 1947-1959. The paper argues that it was inappropriate to apply a 1960s definition of poverty to income data for the 1940s and 1950s.
Gordon M. Fisher, “Setting American Standards of Poverty: A Look Back,” Focus [newsletter of the Institute for Research on Poverty], Vol. 19, No. 2, Spring 1998, pp. 47-52. [ This issue of Focus is available in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) on the Institute for Research on Poverty’s Web site, 64 pages.]
This article summarizes the development and history of the current official poverty measure and also the history of unofficial poverty lines in the U.S. before 1965.
Gordon M. Fisher, "Disseminating the Administrative Version and Explaining the Administrative and Statistical Versions of the Federal Poverty Measure” Clinical Sociological Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1997.
Gordon M. Fisher, “ Poverty Lines and Measures of Income Inadequacy in the United States Since 1870: Collecting and Using a Little-Known Body of Historical Material ” (a paper presented at the 22nd Meeting of the Social Science History Association in Washington, D.C.), October 1997
Gordon M. Fisher, “ Some Popular Beliefs About the U.S. Poverty Line as Reflected in Inquiries from the Public ,” The Sociologist [Newsletter of the District of Columbia Sociological Society], Vol. 30, No. 2, October 1996, p. 6
For Further Questions
If you have further questions about poverty guidelines, poverty thresholds, or poverty lines that are not answered by the material on this page or by our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), you may contact:
137 Poverty Essay Topics
🏆 best essay topics on poverty, 👍 good poverty research topics & essay examples, 🧐 research titles about poverty, 🎓 most interesting poverty research titles, ❓ poverty research questions.
- Drug’s, Poverty’s and Beauty’s Effects on Health Some serious health outcomes emanate from frequent consumption of drugs, poverty, and a stringent adherence to the global trends of beauty.
- Effects of Divorce and Poverty in Families In the event of a divorce children are tremendously affected and in most cases attention is not given to them the way it should.
- Problem of World Poverty One does not know if it is indeed possible to exhaustively satisfy the meaning and come up with one definition of the term poverty.
- Immigrant Children and Poverty Immigrant child poverty poses considerable social predicaments, because it is related to several long lasting school and development linked difficulties.
- Effects of Poverty on College Education in the USA It is clear that poverty affects not only the living standards and lifestyle of people but also the college education in the United States of America.
- The Issue of World Poverty and Ways to Alleviate the Poverty in the World Poverty is defined as the state of deficiency of a certain amount of material wealth or money. World poverty figures have been rising since the second half of the 20th century.
- Poverty Effects on an Individual People work hard to meet their needs. However, this does not necessary mean escape from poverty. Poverty can cause extensive damage on one’s life.
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- School System: Poverty and Education This short assessment presents at least three examples of differences between the schools that lead to disadvantages in the education system and finally provides a suggestion to help bridge the gap.
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- The Orthodox and Alternative Poverty Explanations Comparison Poverty has over the years become a worldwide subject of concern for economies. This essay will explore two theories- the orthodox and the alternative theories to poverty.
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- Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and Poverty Be it through the sexual enslavement of girls or trafficking of males for forced labor, slavery has had a tremendous impact on modern society.
- Poverty in “The Bottom Billion” by Paul Collier Paul Collier’s “The Bottom Billion” is an in-depth study of the financial plight of the world’s poorest countries. It analyzes the incidence and provides remedies to the issue.
- Utilitarianism: Poverty Reduction Through Charity This paper shows that poverty levels can be reduced if wealthy individuals donate a part of their earnings, using the main principles of the utilitarian theory.
- Poverty and Welfare Policies in the United States The poverty is the United States is a primary problem. If the economic growth of the 1970s continues, until 1980s the number of poor families would be significantly lower.
- National Conversation about Poverty The success of every society is determined by values, cultural practices, and tendencies that can address the hurdles affecting its people.
- Child Poverty Assessment in Canada Child poverty is not only the problem of children but also a threat to the development of a country. In Canada today, every fifth child is estimated to be affected by poverty.
- Brazil’ Poverty and Inequality Poverty in Brazil has been unresponsive to growth due to the challenges of eliminating inequality. The poverty eradication programs reduced the poverty rate.
- Grameen Banking System Alleviating Poverty This paper discusses various aspects of the Grameen banking system and focuses on how it has assisted communities, and evaluate its future success.
- Can Marriage End Poverty? Marriages to some degree alleviate poverty, but not all marriages can do so. Only marriages build on sound principles can achieve such a feat.
- Household Energy Use and Poverty In many developing countries, as well as among disadvantaged populations of the industrial states, the lack or absence of energy for household use is an everyday reality.
- Standards of the Ethical Code: Children and Poverty The research that will be done will focus mainly on children and poverty. It seeks to study how poverty affects children development.
- Poverty Among the USA Citizens and Reduction Efforts This essay presents a letter about the problem of poverty among U.S. citizens and offers the steps that should be taken to improve the situation.
- Poverty: “$2.00 a Day” Book by Edin and Schaefer In their book “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America,” Edin and Schaefer investigate problems that people who live in poverty face every day.
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- The Concept of Poverty This work is aimed at identifying the key aspects associated with poverty and its impact on the lives of people in different contexts.
- Poverty as a Social Problem Society often perceives poverty as an individualistic issue, believing that it is a consequence of bad decisions.
- Donald Trump’s Policies of Poverty and Human Rights One of the events related to an acute social issue of poverty in the United States involves the U.N. report on extreme U.S. poverty and human rights in the context of Donald Trump’s policies.
- Poverty from Functionalist and Rational Choice Perspectives Poverty is a persistent social phenomenon, which can be examined from both the functionalist and rational choice perspectives.
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- India’s Policies to Tackle Poverty and Inequality This paper aims to identify potential policies in infrastructure and education and develop new options to deal with poverty and inequality in India.
- Global Poverty, Inequality, and Mass Migration Such global issues as poverty and inequality and mass migration are significant today since many people are involved in them.
- Poverty in New York City and Media Representation This paper will analyze recent news publications regarding the urban issue of poverty in NYC and determine how the city is represented in the media.
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- Economic Development in LDCs and Sufficient Conditions to Eradicate Absolute Poverty Since the ratio between the rich and the poor and the wealth gap have to be considered as well, GDP fails to accurately convey the wellbeing of the people of the country.
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- Poverty and Homelessness in Canada Poverty and homelessness figure prominently in government policies and the aims of many social service organizations even in a country like Canada.
- How Poverty Impacts on Life Chances, Experiences and Opportunities for Young People The paper specifically dwells on the social exclusion, class, and labeling theories to place youth poverty in its social context.
- Poverty in America: Issue Analysis The paper is intended to work out the problem of poverty existing in the US, so that to analyze the factors which contribute to the issue of such negative characteristic in social life.
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- Are MNCs Responsible for Poverty and Violence in Developing Nations? MNCs play a big role in the development of economies in developing countries, and they are responsible for much of the poverty and violence in some developing countries.
- “Combating Poverty in Latin America” by Robyn Eversole Poverty elevation is the duty of governments, which unfortunately has been a weak area in Latin American countries.
- Vicious Circle of Poverty In this essay, the author describes the problem of poverty, its causes and ways of optimizing the economy and increasing production efficiency.
- Gay and Poverty Marriage The institution of family and the issues of marriage play a crucial role in society today. Marriage status determines relations between spouses and their relations with the state.
- Trade Effect on Environmentalism and Poverty This is a research paper about the effect of trade on the environment and the way in which trade has contributed to the improvement of living standards.
- Poverty Relation With Immigrants Poverty-related immigration is usually caused by population pressures; as the natural land becomes less productive due to the increased technology and industrial production.
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- Is Debt Cancellation the Answer to World Poverty? There is no doubt that debt cancellation is one of the single effective approaches to poverty eradication, perhaps more effective than development aid.
- The U.S. Education: Effect of Poverty Poverty effects on education would stretch to other aspects of life and this justifies that, poverty in United States not only affects social lifestyles but also college education.
- Marriage and Divorce: Poverty Among Divorced Women This paper aims at looking into the possible connection between divorce and poverty among women given that many women are employed and are financially independent.
- Poverty Elimination in Perspective Poverty is a subject that has been on the world’s development agenda since time immemorial. This essay explores the possibilities of eliminating the poverty menace.
- Aid Agency Discussing Different Solutions to Poverty in Urban Areas Urban poverty is a nightmare most cities, governments and local authorities are facing the world over. Some effects of urban poverty 1) Crime 2) Toll on Economy.
- Attitudes to Poverty: Singer’s Arguments Singer argues against the observation by the rich than helping one poor person can repeat over and over again until the rich eventually becomes poor.
- Federal Poverty, Welfare, and Unemployment Policies In the paper, the federal policies regarding the above mentioned areas of public interest will be scrutinized and discussed at length.
- Global Poverty and Human Development Poverty rates across the globe continue to be a major issue that could impair the progress of humanity as a whole.
- Poverty: Causes and Reduction Measures Poverty is a global disaster and that a large percentage of the population has insufficient income or material possessions to satisfy their basic needs.
- The Poverty as an Ethical Issue Looking at poverty as an ethical issue, we have to consider the fact that there are people who control resource distribution, which then leads to wealth or poverty in a community.
- Speech on Mother Teresa: Poverty and Interiority in Mother Teresa Many see Mother Teresa as a saint due to her compassion, contributions to charity. She was born in 1910 in Skopje, traveled to many countries as a Catholic missionary.
- Sociological Issues About Social Class and Poverty, Race and Ethnicity, Gender The aim of this paper is to describe different sociological issues in the USA, such as social class and poverty, race and ethnicity, gender, etc.
- The Cost of Saving: The Problem of Poverty The problem of poverty remains contributing to the drop in the quality of life, life expectancy, and overall well-being of a major part of the American population.
- Poverty in Young and Middle Adulthood According to functionalism, poverty is a dysfunctional aspect of interrelated components, which is the result of improper structuring.
- The Link Between Poverty and Criminal Behavior Both deviance and crime represent a deviation from societal norms but become separated only by the degree of nonconformity to acceptable behavior.
- Changing the Face of Poverty While the essay’s primary focus is poverty, some of the points could apply to other spheres with false representation.
- American Dream and Poverty in the United States The concept of the American dream and its component has changed over the years and remains different for different people.
- Global Poverty and Education Correlation This paper aims to reflect the element of education in eliminating global poverty and the role of poverty in hindering education.
- Carl Hart’s Talk on Racism, Poverty, and Drugs In his TED Talk, Carl Hart, a professor of neuroscience at Columbia University who studies drug addiction, exposes a relationship between racism, poverty, and drugs.
- Poverty and Its Effects Upon Special Populations Since special populations have mostly restricted access to essential resources, poverty has especially drastic effects on the quality of their lives and their overall well-being.
- The Problem of Poverty in Art of Different Periods Artists have always been at the forefront of addressing social issues, by depicting them in their works and attempting to draw the attention of the public to sensitive topics.
- Empowerment and Poverty Reduction The objective of this essay will be to highlight the health issues caused by poverty and the strategies needed to change the situation of poor people through empowerment.
- Love and Poverty in My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke The present paper includes a brief analysis of the poem ‘My Papa’s Waltz’ with a focus on imagery and figurative language.
- Poverty in America: Socio-Economic Inequality The primary cause of poverty in the United States is socio-economic inequality since such ethnic minorities as Native Americans are among the poorest social groups in the US.
- Poverty and Mental Health Correlation The analysis of the articles provides a comprehensive understanding of the poverty and mental health correlation scale and its current state.
- Poverty: Causes and Solutions to Problem Attempts to establish the causes of poverty and the solutions to the issue have been made since the emergence of early civilizations.
- Poverty and Covid-19 in Developing Countries In response to the pandemic, countries recommended and enforced policies on social distancing and shelter-in-place.
- Teenage Pregnancy After Exposure to Poverty: Causation and Communication In the study “Counterfactual Models of Neighborhood Effects,” Harding used the counterfactual causal framework.
- “What Is Poverty” by Dalrymple The purpose of this paper is to present Dalrymple point of view and analyze it by applying philosophical concepts.
- Wealth, Poverty, and Systems of Economic Class By examining wealth, poverty, and economic classes from the perspective of social justice, the socioeconomic inequalities persistent in society will become clear.
- “8 Million Have Slipped Into Poverty Since May as Federal Aid Has Dried Up” by Jason DeParle This paper provides an analysis of the article “8 Million Have Slipped Into Poverty Since May as Federal Aid Has Dried Up” by Jason DeParle.
- Poverty Among Children from Immigrant Workers Poverty among children from immigrant workers does lead to shortened life spans, malnourishment and constant illness.
- Effects of Poverty on Health Care in the US and Afghanistan The paper aims to make a comparison of healthcare for women and children in the developing and developed world between the United States of America and Afghanistan.
- Poverty, Faith, and Justice: ”Liberating God of Life” by Elizabeth Johnson “Liberating God of Life Context: Wretched Poverty” by Johnson constructs that the main goal of human beings is to combat structural violence toward the poor.
- Global Issues of World Poverty: Reasons and Solutions The term ‘world poverty’ refers to poverty around the world and is not only limited to developing and under-developed nations.
- African American Families in Poverty Even though the United States declares the equality of white and black people quite often, the socio-economic situation of African Americans still need changes for the better.
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- Correlation Between Poverty and Juvenile Delinquency Crime significantly impacts the standard of life across the world, a case study of the United States reveals that crime has grown into a very expensive venture.
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- Poverty: Behavioral, Structural, Political Factors The research paper will primarily argue that poverty is a problem caused by a combination of behavioral, structural, and political systems.
- Habitat for the Homeless: Poverty The paper states that Habitat for the Homeless comes to fulfill American values by ensuring that Americans can afford houses at a low price.
- The Impact of Poverty on Children and Minority Groups The problem of poverty, not only among children but also among adults, has plagued this planet for a long time.
- Global Poverty: Tendencies, Causes and Impacts This paper aims to examine poverty globally, including definitions, related facts and tendencies, its causes and impacts, associated issues, and potential solutions.
- Homelessness and Poverty in Developed and Developing Countries All states across the globe need to undertake all possible efforts to reduce the rates of poverty and homelessness.
- Policy Development to Overcome Child Poverty in the U.S. The minors below the age of five are especially vulnerable and experience significantly higher rates of poverty than older children do.
- Poverty Prevalence and Causes in the United States This essay will discuss the problem of poverty in the United States, its primary causes, the reasons for its prevalence, and how society can alleviate it.
- Global Poverty and Education Economic theories like liberalization, deregulation, and privatization were developed to address global poverty.
- Can Authorization Reduce Poverty Among Undocumented Immigrants?
- Can Higher Employment Levels Bring Lower Poverty in the EU?
- Are Private Transfers Poverty and Inequality Reducing?
- Can Group-Based Credit Uphold Smallholder Farmers Productivity and Reduce Poverty in Africa?
- Can Anti-Poverty Programs Improve Family Functioning and Enhance Children’s Well-Being?
- Can Laziness Explain Poverty in America?
- Are Social Exclusion and Poverty Measures Interrelated?
- Can Increasing Smallholder Farm Size Broadly Reduce Rural Poverty in Zambia?
- Can Crop Purchase Programs Reduce Poverty and Improve Welfare in Rural Communities?
- Does Aid Availability Affect Effectiveness in Reducing Poverty?
- Can Employer Credit Checks Create Poverty Traps?
- Are the Poverty Effects of Trade Policies Invisible?
- Can Foreign Aid Reduce Poverty?
- Are Education Systems Modern as Well as Practical Enough to Eliminate Unemployment, and Thus Poverty?
- Can High-Inequality Developing Countries Escape Absolute Poverty?
- Are Inequality and Trade Liberalization Influences on Growth and Poverty?
- Can Globalisation Realistically Solve World Poverty?
- Are Urban Poverty and Undernutrition Growing?
- Can Big Push Interventions Take Small-Scale Farmers Out of Poverty?
- Can Civilian Disability Pensions Overcome the Poverty Issue?
- Are Poverty Rates Underestimated in China?
- Does Agriculture Help Poverty and Inequality Reduction?
- Can Agricultural Households Farm Their Way Out of Poverty?
- Are Income Poverty and Perceptions of Financial Difficulties Dynamically Interrelated?
- Are Bangladesh’s Recent Gains in Poverty Reduction Different From the Past?
- Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Intergenerational Poverty Trap?
- Are Remittances Helping Lower Poverty and Inequality Levels in Latin America?
- Can Foreign Aid Reduce Income Inequality and Poverty?
- Can Child-Care Subsidies Reduce Poverty?
- Can Income Inequality Reduction Be Used as an Instrument for Poverty Reduction?
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How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty
Following the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Statistical Policy Directive 14, the Census Bureau uses a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty. The official poverty thresholds do not vary geographically, but they are updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).
For historical information, see the History of the Poverty Measure page in the About section of the Poverty subtopic site.
Money Income: Income Used to Compute Poverty Status
The income used to compute poverty status includes (before taxes):
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers' compensation
- Social Security
- Supplemental Security Income
- Public assistance
- Veterans' payments
- Survivor benefits
- Pension or retirement income
- Income from estates
- Educational assistance
- Child support
- Assistance from outside the household
- Other miscellaneous sources
Money income does not include:
- Capital gains or losses
- Noncash benefits (e.g. food stamps and housing subsidies)
- Tax credits
Poverty Thresholds: Measure of Need
Poverty thresholds are the dollar amounts used to determine poverty status.
The Census Bureau assigns each person or family one out of 48 possible poverty thresholds.
- Thresholds vary by the size of the family and age of the members.
- The same thresholds are used throughout the United States (they do not vary geographically).
- Thresholds are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
- Although the thresholds in some sense reflect a family’s needs, they are intended for use as a statistical yardstick, not as a complete description of what people and families need to live.
To calculate total family income, the incomes of all related family members that live together are added up to determine poverty status. If an individual or group of individuals (such as housemates) are not living with family members, their own individual income is compared with their individual poverty threshold.
Thus, all family members have the same poverty status, and some families may be composed of single unrelated individuals.
If total family income:
- Is less than the poverty threshold for that family - that family and everyone in it is considered to be in poverty.
- Equals or is greater than the poverty threshold - the family is not considered to be in poverty.
People Whose Poverty Status Cannot Be Determined
Poverty status cannot be determined for people in:
- Institutional group quarters (such as prisons or nursing homes)
- College dormitories
- Military barracks
- Living situations without conventional housing (and who are not in shelters)
Additionally, poverty status cannot be determined for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children) because income questions are asked of people age 15 and older and, if someone is under age 15 and not living with a family member, we do not know their income. Since we cannot determine their poverty status, they are excluded from the “poverty universe” (table totals).
Family A has five members: two children, one mother, one father, and one great-aunt.
Step 1: Determine the family’s poverty threshold for that year
The family’s 2022 poverty threshold (below) is $35,801.
Step 2: Calculate the total family income for the same year
Suppose the members’ incomes in 2022 were:
- Child 1: $0
- Child 2: $0
- Mother: $13,000
- Father: $12,500
- Great-aunt: $11,000
Thus, Family A’s total income for 2022 was $36,500.
Step 3: Compare the family’s total income with the poverty threshold
The total family income divided by the poverty threshold is called the Ratio of Income to Poverty.
Income / Threshold = $36,500 / $35,801 = 1.02
The difference in dollars between family income and the family’s poverty threshold is called the Income Deficit (for families in poverty) or Income Surplus (for families above poverty).
Income – Threshold = $36,500 - $35,801 = $699
Since Family A’s total income was greater than their poverty threshold, they are considered not “in poverty” according to the official definition.
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The SPM child poverty rate fell 46 percent in 2021, from 9.7 percent in 2020 to 5.2 percent in 2021, a 4.5 percentage-point decline. This is the lowest SPM child poverty rate on record. In 2021, SPM rates for non-Hispanic White (2.7 percent), Black (8.1 percent), and Hispanic (8.4 percent) children were also the lowest rates on record, falling ...
Poverty Thresholds: Measure of Need Poverty thresholds are the dollar amounts used to determine poverty status. The Census Bureau assigns each person or family one out of 48 possible poverty thresholds. Thresholds vary by the size of the family and age of the members.