How To Measure Poverty
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  • Mrs. Davis

    How long did Jesus say the poor would be with us?

  • Kenny

    “But the poor are still with us, they still need our help, and in more and more cases, the help that they need goes far beyond what government can ever provide.”

    For a fairly good section of the “poor,” the best help they can be given is a swift kick in the butt and told to “straighten up and fly right.”

  • PrestonPate

    If poverty is going to be measured as the poorest 10%, then we will always have poverty. QED

  • Anthony

    “Much of the poverty in our country is a poverty of relationships and services: children growing up in a world with no fathers, attending bad schools, lacking role models and mentors and surrounded by predatory gangs and drug traffickers are desperately poor in ways that income and consumption statistics don’t capture” encapsulates it all WRM. However, economic measures are a function of capitalism thus poverty numerically quantified becomes indices. As John Stuart Mill sums up: “Human beings owe to each other help to distinguish the better from the worse, and encouragement to choose the former and avoid the latter.” He speaks essentially to mitigating of your “poverty of relationships” wherein economic poverty as measured by statistics then has genuine relevance as index.

  • dlr

    The best measure I know is the percent of the population living on less than $2 a day. That’s the international poverty line, as defined by the United Nations. That number for Laos, for example, is 66% of the population, so it’s not an irrelevant number. In Liberia it’s 95% of the population. How many people in the US live on less than $2 a day? .1%? .01%? That’s how many people in the US are living in poverty, as define by an objective measure.

    Another poverty measure is the percent of the population that is undernourished — ie, chronically not getting enough to eat. That number for Chad, for instance, is 37%. In Angola it’s 41%. For the US, it’s what? .1%? .01%?

    That’s how many people are poor in America.

    And let’s be honest. Those people are poor by these standards because they are seriously mentally ill, or have serious substance abuse problems, ie, it isn’t a POVERTY issue at all. American’s need to look overseas to gain some perspective on this issue. Look at Bolivia, where 27% of the population is CHRONICALLY UNDERNOURISHED. That’s more than 1 person in 4. Then let’s talk about poverty in America.

  • Kenny @ #2,

    And how is your mother’s basement?

    Some people need to get out more.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Recent Heritage Foundation research shows that poor Americans live better than royalty of a century ago.
    99.7% have Refrigerators
    97.7% have TV’s
    97.7% have Stove and Oven
    81.4% have Microwave
    78.3% have Air-Conditioning
    70.6% have VCR
    65.1% have 2 or more TV’s
    64.8% have DVD player
    63.7% have cable or satellite TV
    Phone, Cell Phone, Washer, Dryer, Ceiling Fans all over 50%, and these numbers are not significantly lower than the American Averages.
    As far as food goes, the American poor are better fed than 70% of the worlds population, many are fat and obese. When was the last time you saw a starving person? Is it even possible to die in America from starvation?
    I don’t think what the poor in America need is more government programs, in fact I think much of what is holding them back is too much government.
    “Government isn’t the solution, Government is the problem” Reagan

  • “By every economic measure, there is much less absolute poverty in the United States today than there was fifty or even thirty years ago.”

    I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what laws and social programs might have helped alleviate absolute poverty in those years. Any help?

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