United States of extreme poverty

Posted: 26 June 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

[click either chart for a larger view]

The United States is increasingly becoming a country of extreme poverty.

According to Evan Soltas [ht: db], the percentage of Americans in extreme poverty—defined as receiving less than one half of the federal poverty threshold—has increased by 50 percent in the past decade. In 2010, 6.7 percent of Americans were among the extreme poor, as compared to 5.2 percent in 2007 and 4.5 percent in 2000.

The unambiguous statistical trend since 2000 has been large increases in the fraction of Americans at the extreme end of poverty, with little to no change in the fraction of Americans considered “near poor.” The poor, in other words, are getting poorer – or more precisely, poverty in America is becoming an increasingly extreme and unequal phenomenon.

And, remember, U.S. poverty is defined in absolute terms (e.g., the poverty threshold for a family of four is $23,050 in 2012) as against the relative poverty standard used in other countries (e.g., in the European Union, the poverty line is defined as 60 percent of the population’s median income). Thus, for example, since median household income in the United States was $45,800 in 2010, the EU-comparable relative poverty line would have been $27,480.

By either measure, the United States is forcing a larger and larger portion of its population to attempting to survive in conditions of extreme poverty.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s