13 December 2010

Conviction: Your Neighbor

If you haven't been able to read all of the posts on HIV/AIDS, then check it out! Because we are movin' on, pals, and there is a lot to learn.

This week, our topic is Poverty, but specifically, poverty in the US. Not suprisingly, there is a lot of information available on poverty and its effects around the country, so for today, I just want to share a little of that with you.

According to the ever-so-handy Dictionary.com,
pov·er·ty  /ˈpɒvərti/ [pov-er-tee]
1. the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor; indigence.

In the United States, poverty is something measured not only by the government but by many other organizations in the country. The Census Bureau has a convenient (although complex!) system for determining whether a family falls above or below the poverty line, which you can read about more at the Overview/Highlights page. In general, each family is measured as a group, so if you live with your parents and siblings, you are all at the same level. If you live alone, then you are 'a family'. In any case, the method boils down to the "thresholds" that the government assigns: how many people in a household and how many of them are under 18. Then this compared to the actual income of a family determines whether or not they are below the poverty line. Check this out:

The nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008
"Income / Threshold = $27,000 / $26,245 = 1.03"

In this example, the income is greater than the threshold, and the family would not be in poverty. That solution (1.03) is called the ratio of income to poverty.

"The difference in dollars between family income and the family's poverty threshold is called the Income Deficit (for families in poverty) or Income Surplus (for families above poverty)."

So using this rule, here are some statistics:

According to the Census Bureau, the nation's official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008.

Again, though numbers are good, lets look a little deeper.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty;
There are over 74 million children under age 18 in the United States.
42 percent – 31.3 million – live in low-income families.
21 percent – 15.3 million – live in poor families.

I don't know about you, but I don't think that's right.

Until we're back for tomorrow's post, I would highly recommend you take a look at both of my sources for today's post: US Census Bureau and their page on poverty, as well as NCCP and their information.

Do you have any great resources for this kind of info? Fill me in below!


  1. it's crazy to realize the pain going on around us that we can't just recognize with our eyes...i think that poverty is sometimes hard to be seen.
    also, it's a bit like that last passage we read in small group in which the first shall be last & the last shall be first- what's fair in God's eyes isn't fair to the world. this is seen on the paychecks of hardworking people scraping by, and grumbling little tummies of children.

  2. First shall be last and last shall be first totally relates here! I'm so glad you brought it up! A lot of the causes of poverty are related to income, and of course that's all about who is better/worse and who "deserves" what.
    It's just sad that kids are often the group that suffer the most.