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Poverty in the USA - Article Example

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Include the USA government definition, as well as other conceptions, including a discussion of which definition gives the most accurate measure and…
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Poverty in the USA
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Download file to see previous pages So there are statistical and social definitions of poverty, as well as a mixture of both methods. Social definition includes the concept of empowerment and human development (Think Quest, 2006). In other words, “...objective measures of poverty present numerous problems in terms of identifying the poor, but succeed in providing the aggregate statistics policy makers desire” (Maxwell, 1999, p. 3).
Most of the time emphasis is made on defining and measuring poverty thresholds and poverty lines, but some researchers argue that policy makers should define and measure poverty in terms of “self-sufficiency” (Mutari, 2001) or the level of income that a person or a family really needs to live a life free of worries about economical and human development issues.
In the United States poverty began to be measured in the 1950s based on a survey that showed that families spent about one-third of their incomes on food. Mollie Orshansky, an economist from the Social Security Administration, set the poverty threshold at three times the cost of an economy food plan defined by the Department of Agriculture (University of Michigan, 2001). The thresholds are updated yearly and vary according to the size and age composition of a family (US Census Bureau, 2009).
Frank states that “using these income levels, the Census Bureau reported that 12.7% percent of U.S. residents and 17.8% of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2004. Black Americans experience poverty at nearly double these rates: 24.9% of all Blacks and 33.3% of Black children live in households with incomes below the poverty line” (Frank, 2006).
Most of the researchers and experts agree that the poverty line is “far too low for a household to survive on in most parts of the United States” (Frank, 2006). Researchers Pearce and Brooks found that “a single parent living in the Bronx with two children, one in school and one in daycare, would need a gross income of $3,684 per month ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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