U.S. Poverty

Poverty in the United States

According to dictionary.com the definition of Poverty is the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor; indigence.   In this paper I will look at how the United States determines when a person is living in poverty; how they become poor and if race, demographic location etc. plays a role in their living conditions.  
There are two slightly different versions of the federal poverty measure.   The first is the poverty threshold.   The Census Bureau measures poverty using a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty.   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).   Poverty thresholds were originally derived in 1963-1964.   Thresholds vary according to size of the family and ages of the members.   The same thresholds are used throughout the United States and do not vary geographically.   A family is considered to be in poverty if the total family income is less that the threshold appropriate for that family.   There are certain groups that poverty status cannot be determined.   These groups include:  

  * Someone under the age of 15 and are not living with a family member
  * Institutional group quarters (such as prisons or nursing homes)
  * College dormitories
  * Military barracks
  * Living situations without conventional housing (and who are not in shelters.)

The table below lists the Poverty Thresholds for 2010

The second way that poverty is measured is by poverty guidelines.   They are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).   The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes, for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs.   The Federal Register...