Sociology - September 2, 2008 Poverty What is the official...

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September 2, 2008 Poverty What is the official definition of poverty, how has it been criticized and what suggestions have been made to improve it? Majority of poor kids, due to family members, are homeless Mollie Orshansky-1965-tasked w/coming up with a threshold of poverty. Came up w/a formula or definition, Pre-tax $ < ( min amt of diet * 3) ~age of household ~ # of people in household Why diet? She knew multiple organizations in this government would need this formula. Diet was the one unit of measurement that all organizations agreed upon. Poverty is always moving and crossing this threshold, one year your poor, the next year not, ext… *Should be how much consumption (but federal government uses income) ex. In 2002, 65<4 ~18,392$ if you were under this number, you’d be poor In 2007, 65<4 ~ 21,203$ Rate of Poverty In 1995, 13.8% 2000, 11.3% 2007, 12.5% Criticisms of the Definition 1.) The measure should take into account, in-kind assistance. a. Any kind of valued good from the federal government. You could be making 12,000, under threshold, but plus 10,000 in federal help making you exceed threshold. 2.) After taxes a. Taking out Social Security and Medicare (FICA-7.5%) b. Reagan- EITC (earned income tax credit) rewards people working, and this is not factored in 3.) Work related expenses
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4.) Regional Variation in the cost of living * NRC (National Research Council) Came up with a list of improvements 1.) Comprehensive budget 2.) Family types a. 4 yr old is as expensive as an enfant 3.) Regional Variations 4.) All cash and near cash minus expenses not in budget 5.) Adjusted for inflation plus cost of goods a. Some prices go up at a different rate of inflation Poverty rate would go up because threshold would go up, if these suggestions were implemented. And it would go up the most for Hispanics. Why? Location, clustered into very expensive areas such as California Why does it matter what the definition of poverty is? The benefits for individuals in poverty, involves the use of the formula to determine eligibility. 1.) Individual eligibility 2.) Federal spending a. Provides an unclear picture of program effectiveness LBJ-1960’s-targeted poverty, and a major decrease in poverty was seen. In 1959, 40% in poverty, but then there was a swap and more children were in poverty rather then adults. This was due to Medicare (natural resource shift) and our resources were directed towards elders. Breakdown of Poverty by State -Poverty concentrations more towards the south Duration of Poverty over a 24-month period. -2-4 months a majority in poverty -21-24 months less people in poverty Sept 4, 2008 Explanations for Poverty
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What is “blaming the victim” and what blaming the victim explanations have been proposed? Blaming the Victim
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2009 for the course SOC 46615 taught by Professor Mr.b during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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Sociology - September 2, 2008 Poverty What is the official...

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