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Any poverty line will be somewhat arbitrary, and it is useful to have a poverty line whose basic definition does not change much over time. If Congress voted every few years to redefine what poverty means, then it would be difficult to compare rates over time. After all, would a lower poverty rate mean that the definition had been changed, or that people were actually better off? Government statisticians at the U.S. Census Bureau have ongoing research programs to address questions like these.

Key concepts and summary

Wages are influenced by supply and demand in labor markets, which can lead to very low incomes for some people and very high incomes for others. Poverty and income inequality are not the same thing. Poverty applies to the condition of people who cannot afford the necessities of life. Income inequality refers to the disparity between those with higher and lower incomes. The poverty rate is what percentage of the population lives below the poverty line, which is determined by the amount of income that it takes to purchase the necessities of life. Choosing a poverty line will always be somewhat controversial.


In country A, the population is 300 million and 50 million people are living below the poverty line. What is the poverty rate?

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In country B, the population is 900 million and 100 million people are living below the poverty line. What is the poverty rate?

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Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the United States Government. “State Median Income Estimates for a Four-Person Household: Notice of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013 State Median Income Estimates for Use Under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).” Last modified March 15, 2012. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/03/15/2012-6220/state-median-income-estimates-for-a-four-person-household-notice-of-the-federal-fiscal-year-ffy-2013#t-1.

Luhby, Tami. 2014. “Income is on the rise . . . finally!” Accessed April 10, 2015. http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/20/news/economy/median-income/.

Meyer, Ali. 2015. “56,023,000: Record Number of Women Not in Labor Force.” CNSNews.com. Accessed March 16, 2015. http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/56023000-record-number-women-not-labor-force.

Orshansky, Mollie. “Children of the Poor.” Social Security Bulletin . 26 no. 7 (1963): 3–13. http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v26n7/v26n7p3.pdf.

The World Bank. “Data: Poverty Headcount Ratio at $1.25 a Day (PPP) (% of Population).” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.DDAY.

U.S. Department of Commerce: United States Census Bureau. “American FactFinder.” http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml.

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U.S. Department of Commerce: United States Census Bureau. “Income: Table F-6. Regions—Families (All Races) by Median and Mean Income.” http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/families/.

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U.S. Department of Health&Human Services. 2015. “2015 Poverty Guidelines.” Accessed April 10, 2015. http://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-program-information/by-topics/eligibility/downloads/2015-federal-poverty-level-charts.pdf.

U.S. Department of Health&Human Services. 2015. “Information on Poverty and Income Statistics: A Summary of 2014 Current Population Survey Data.” Accessed April 13, 2015. http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/14/povertyandincomeest/ib_poverty2014.pdf.

Questions & Answers

pls wat is production possibility curve
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is science
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Usman Reply
microeconomic deal with the study of individual firms and household and macroeconomics deal with the economy as a whole.
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monopoly is a process whereby one supplier and lot of damands in the market
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it broaden one's mind
it help us to make good choices
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literally, demand is not the same as quantity demanded. While quantity demanded is directly and particularly related to price, demand is the various relations that exist between quantity demanded and price of a commodity.
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business economics is the way the society uses its limited resources to satisfy their unlimited wants
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Sunday Reply
demand means desire for a commodity backed by willingness & ability to pay for that commodity
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supply means suppliers supplying more commodities when price's high or less when price's low to satisfy human want
the coefficient of price elasticity of supply is the measure of percentage change in the quantity supplied of a good due to a given percentage change in its price.
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what is cardinal and ordinal utility?
Cardinal utility is the satisfaction derived by the consumers from the consumption of goods and services while ordinal is ranked in terms of preference.
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Please I need help!!!!
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Economics Economics - The study of how people use their limited resources to try to satisfy unlimited wants
Economic integration has been one of the main economic developments affecting international trade in the last years. Countries have wanted to engage in economic cooperation to use their respective resources more effectively and to provide large markets for member-countries of the resulting integrate
Inelastic Demand When consumers are relatively unresponsive to price changes. A PED coefficient of less than one means that a particular change in the price of a good will be met by a proportionally smaller change in the quantity demanded.
demand refers to goods and services that a consumer is willing and able to buy at given rate over a given period of time
Demand  - The entire relationship between the quantity of product that buyers wish to purchase per period time and the price of that product..
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The factors that affect demand Price Price of the other commodity Wheather and climate conditions
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economics is study of scarcity and how humans make decisions.
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economics is a science that deals with human behaviors as a relationship between earns and scarce means,which have alternate uses.

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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