Chapter3 - Chapter 3 Defining Poverty: Where to Begin? I....

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Chapter 3 Defining Poverty: Where to Begin? I. What is Poverty? A. Poverty as Deprivation 1. Insufficiency in food, housing, clothing, medical care, and other items required to maintain a decent standard of living. a. Assumes an arbitrary standard of living below which individuals and families can be considered “deprived” 2. Poverty thresholds- cash income required to satisfy minimum living needs a. Poverty guidelines- simplified version used to determine who qualifies for federally supported public assistance programs b. First developed by Mollie Orshanksy of Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1964 3. Income deficit- poverty gap; average amount of money to bring each family up to the poverty threshold 4. Absolute measure- provide one figure for the number of poor in country 5. Lowest poverty rate in 1973 6. Problems a. Includes only cash income i. Excludes in-kind benefits- medical care, food stamps, school lunches, public housing ii. Excludes family assets b. Regional differences in cost of living, climate, or styles of living c. Does not recognize status- students, retirees, chronic illness, large debts d. 1/3 food estimate outdated- now more like 1/7 th of total expenses B. Measuring Poverty 1. Including in-kind benefits has only a modest effect on reducing poverty figures because the reductions from any single program are small a. For helping children out of poverty: i. Social insurance and tax benefits most effective ii. Cash public assistance benefits least effective b. For 65 and older: i. Social Security biggest effect C. Who is Poor? 1. Race a. Whites outnumber blacks among poor, but much larger percentage of black population is poor b. Hispanic 2. Family Status a. Highest poverty rates occur in families headed by women where no husband is present 3. Age a. Children b. Percent of poor 65 years and older have dropped over the years i. Older women more poor than older men
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Chapter3 - Chapter 3 Defining Poverty: Where to Begin? I....

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