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EPIDEMIOLOGICAL TRANSITION : Lower mortality today, but different causes of death Leading causes of death (1900s): Polio, Dysentery, etc. [Infectious Diseases] Leading causes of death (200s): Heart Diseases, Cancer, etc. [Chronic Diseases] [Society has an effect on Disease] I. Socioeconomic Status a. Poor/less educated—less healthy b. Wealthy/more educated—healthier II. Race—very different health profiles for race [Federal Definition of Income]: poverty= pre-tax income < diet X3 Adjusted for age of household (younger= more $$) and number of family members **WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL DEFINITION OF POVERTY, HOW HAS IT BEEN CRITICIZED AND WHAT SUGGESTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO IMPROVE IT? ** [Why poverty count matters] 1) Federal government uses poverty numbers to give money allocations to states for the poor 2) Individual benefits are tied to poverty status 3) Society cares about finding a way to alleviate poverty [CRITICISMS OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FORMULA TO MEASURE POVERTY] 1) In-kind assistance is not taken into account with pre-tax income : Food stamps, housing vouchers, things govt gives you to live on are not taken into account 2) Income after taxes : FICA (social security) is about 7%-8% and you don’t get it back after taxes 3) Work-related and child care expenses: hiring a baby-sitter, clothing, uniforms, gas, etc. 4) Regional variations: it’s more expensive to live in one place relative to another [NRC RECOMMENDATIONS TO FIX THE SITUATION] 1) Comprehensive budget: take into account things other than diet when calculating poverty Food costs haven’t risen as much as housing, gas, etc. Inflation affects things in different ways 2) Different family types: younger children are more expensive. You can’t just focus on children under 18, there are more expenses like formula and diapers for younger children 3) Regional variations: poverty threshold should be higher in California than in a state like Missouri 4) Use a new formula to generate a number for poverty instead of pre-tax income:
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[ Costs not in family budget: taxes, child-care, work-related expenses, etc. 5) Median cost of goods Food prices are increasing because of ethanol (from corn) High fructose corn syrup in many of our goods Cows are fed corn to make them fat for slaughter; since corn is getting more expensive, meat prices go up as well **Looking at a 1992, estimate: If the NRC used its recommendations, Hispanic people under the new poverty guidelines would skyrocket. This means that Hispanics live in parts of the country that have higher costs of living. [Regional variation] [Why don’t we change the measure of poverty?] POLITICS!!! No one wants to say poverty went up on
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This note was uploaded on 11/03/2008 for the course SOC 354K taught by Professor Musick during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas.

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