<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The u.s. poverty rate since 1960

The graph shows that the percentage of people below the poverty line was roughly 18% in the early 1960s, but had since mostly remained beneath 12% except for the years since the recession when the percentage has continued to increase to almost 16% in 2011 before dropping slightly to 14.5% in 2013.
The poverty rate fell dramatically during the 1960s, rose in the early 1980s and early 1990s, and, after declining in the 1990s through mid-2000s, rose to 15.9% in 2011, which is close to the 1960 levels. In 2013, the poverty dropped slightly to 14.5%. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
Poverty rates by group, 2013
Group Poverty Rate
Females 15.8%
Males 13.1%
White 9.6%
Black 27.1%
Hispanic 23.5%
Under age 18 19.9%
Ages 18–24 20.6%
Ages 25–34 15.9%
Ages 35–44 12.2%
Ages 45–54 10.9%
Ages 55–59 10.7%
Ages 60–64 10.8%
Ages 65 and older 9.5%

The concept of a poverty line raises many tricky questions. In a vast country like the United States, should there be a national poverty line? After all, according to the Federal Register, the median household income for a family of four was $102,552 in New Jersey and $57,132 in Mississippi in 2013, and prices of some basic goods like housing are quite different between states. The poverty line is based on cash income, which means it does not take into account government programs that provide assistance to the poor in a non-cash form, like Medicaid (health care for low-income individuals and families) and food aid. Also, low-income families can qualify for federal housing assistance. (These and other government aid programs will be discussed in detail later in this chapter.)

Should the poverty line be adjusted to take the value of such programs into account? Many economists and policymakers wonder whether the concept of what poverty means in the twenty-first century should be rethought. The following Clear It Up feature explains the poverty lines set by the World Bank for low-income countries around the world.

How is poverty measured in low-income countries?

The World Bank sets two poverty lines for low-income countries around the world. One poverty line is set at an income of $1.25/day per person; the other is at $2/day. By comparison, the U.S. 2015 poverty line of $20,090 annually for a family of three works out to $18.35 per person per day.

Clearly, many people around the world are far poorer than Americans, as [link] shows. China and India both have more than a billion people; Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa; and Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East. In all four of those countries, in the mid-2000s, a substantial share of the population subsisted on less than $2/day. Indeed, about half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day, and 80 percent of the world lives on less than $10 per day. (Of course, the cost of food, clothing, and shelter in those countries can be very different from those costs in the United States, so the $2 and $2.50 figures may mean greater purchasing power than they would in the United States.)

(Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.DDAY)
Poverty lines for low-income countries, mid-2000s
Country Share of Population below $1.25/Day Share of Population below $2.00/Day
Brazil (in 2009) 6.1% 10.8%
China (in 2009) 11.8% 27.2%
Egypt (in 2008) 1.7% 15.4%
India (in 2010) 32.7% 68.8%
Mexico (in 2010) 0.7% 4.5%
Nigeria (in 2010) 68.0% 84.5%

Questions & Answers

what is economics
Julie Reply
what do you mean by means in economics
economic is the wealth of a country.
monetary policy is refer to as being expansionary or contractionary.
important of unemployment
Otwe Reply
Important of unemployed
what is meaning scarcity
what is consumer
Brenda Reply
how do consumer help people
by export trading
How do you mean Jayah
what is different between price and quantity
what is MRS
definition of economics according to Adam Smith
Ijeoma Reply
economic is a wealth of nation
in the view of Adam Smith economics is the study of activities of people in production of wealth
What do you really think is the remedy for scarcity in Nigeria 🇳🇬
John Reply
different the term economics
zfekere Reply
importance of studying economics
Haruna Reply
importance of economics
different the term economics
mixed economic
you have just been appointed in the director of finance for your state internal revenue board with the knowledge of elasticity advice the state government on how the I.G.R of the state could be raised through exercise duties bearing in mind the implication and incident of taxing setting products
Kenechukwu Reply
Hello,Thanks for your replay
mention 5 characteristics of traditional societies
Pono Reply
dominance of agriculture and ignorance of development avenues are some characteristics of traditional societies.
what's defined as unemployment
Lyrikal Reply
what is elasticity
Olakunle Reply
Elasticity is defined as the degree of responsiveness of quantity demanded to slight change in price, cost of other products and income of consumer.....
elasticity simply means change. it is the degree of responsiveness of quantity demanded of a commodity to changes in the price of a commodity
what is monetary policy
Monetary Policy; is the objectives of the central bank in exercising its control over money, interest rates, and credit conditions.
So does it mean that ceteris paribus is the same as all other things being equal?
Ghabbie Reply
Yes nothing else has been changed
ways by which trade unoins raise wage of it's members
Ngu Reply
what is economic growth
Victor Reply
increase a amount of goods and services produced as per head of population a period of time
Economic growth and development has been defined in so many ways by various economist. At a time past, people started raising questions about having economic growth as the same in meaning development. They do not mean the same thing but they are however interdependent and inter related.
For economic development is not possible without economic growth but economic growth is possible without economic development. For example, when there is an observed increase in GDP from 3 million to 4 million over a period of 5 years, we say that there is economic growth.

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?