The Flawed Gauge of the Poverty Threshold
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the most recent poverty threshold, released
in 2009, for a family of four is $22,050 yearly income.
Upon taking into account all
necessary expenses for the most minimal cost of living, plus the rate of minimum wage,
this threshold is insufficient in safely placing enough people out of poverty.
argue that the poverty line is far too low, due to the rising costs of living, its historically
outdated deriving, its lack to geographically translate, and its deficiency in safely placing
fulltime minimum wage workers out of this threshold.
In order to provide a greater
amount of people with the benefits that come along with being a part of the working
poor, the poverty line needs to be revised.
I. Americans in Poverty
According to the United States Census Bureau, the government uses a set of
money income thresholds that vary by the size and composition of a family to determine
who is in poverty.
If a family’s total income is less than the family’s threshold, then
every unit of that family is considered in poverty.
The official poverty thresholds for the
United States do not alter geographically.
The poverty numbers are updated yearly, and
reflect limited trends in the economy (See Table 1).
Though the Census Bureau can
define the term in this way, being in poverty means much more than what the statistical
surveys can account for.
Being in poverty means living daily life at the most minimal
level using the most minimal of essential resources and strictly accounting for necessities
David K. Shipler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Chief diplomatic
correspondent in Washington, D.C., former reporter for the
Los Angeles Times, The
The New York Times
, and former professor at Princeton University,